Fire in elementary school ruled accidental

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GRANTSVILLE -- Investigators say a fire that burned part of Grantsville Elementary School Monday morning was accidental. It apparently started in a stove inside the teacher's lounge, but firefighters are still investigating how it began.

Firefighters from Grantsville, Tooele and North Tooele were called to the school at 175 W. Main Street just after 10 a.m. and quickly extinguished the flames.

School is out for the summer, but a handful of teachers, secretaries and custodians were inside when the fire erupted.

"The secretary came out of her office and just said, ‘Fire, fire! Get out!' I looked down the hall and there was smoke," said fourth-grade teacher Megan Grover.

Third-grade teacher Holly Lee said, "I took off up the hallway to grab my baby's carrier. I covered his face and just ran and was trying to get out."

Those teachers say the entire building filled up with smoke, then flames started shooting out of the roof and the windows.

Grantsville's fire chief says the burn damage is mostly contained to the teacher's lounge. He says the rest of the classrooms have some smoke and water damage.

The principal of the school, as well as students, couldn't believe this happened.

"This morning we were eating breakfast and my cousin called me and told me," fourth-grade student Paige Mccluskey said. "I was just shocked.

"It's just sad. In these small towns, people live and die by these buildings. Like I said, sections of this building go back to the 1930s. So, a lot of people went to school here," said Principal Jeff Wyatt.

Superintendent for the Tooele County School District Terry Linares said this fire is "devastating to the community," but they are strong and will make the necessary repairs before school starts on Aug. 24.

Wyatt says 800 kids attend this school and he'll make sure they have a place to go come fall.


Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales and Andrew Adams.


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