A small fire at Grantsville High School last Tuesday prompted an evacuation but did no significant damage to the building.
Fire alarms went off at about 2:15 p.m. and a fire was discovered in the building, said Officer Allison Petersen of the Grantsville City Police Department.
Students and faculty were evacuated as per protocol and firefighters responded to the active fire, she said. The flames were quickly doused, but the aftermath is taking more work to solve than the actual incident.
“There was a lot of smoke in the high school. The fire department had to open doors and get fans in there to clear out the smoke, but the damage was minimal,” Petersen said.
A student suspected to be responsible for the fire was arrested. Because the student is a juvenile, no name or age has been released. Petersen said an investigation is ongoing into the motive behind the fire. Petersen declined to specify other details, such as the location and nature of the fire, citing the open investigation.
“We’re still talking to students and gathering more information,” she said. “We still have people coming forward with information. We’re still trying to find the reason why it was done in the first place. Those are questions we’re looking at ourselves.”
Petersen noted many people were nervous about the situation given Grantsville’s history with schools and fires. In 1984 a fire started in a dumpster adjacent to the high school burned nearly the entire building to the ground. In 2009 a kitchen fire in Grantsville Elementary School resulted in a new facility being built.
All things considered, though, Petersen said the situation was resolved as good as it possibly could have been.
“It’s cold outside, you’re evacuating 900-plus kids plus faculty,” she said. “Fortunately, there were no injuries from the fire or smoke inhalation. The school did a great job getting everybody out and working together.”