Fire destroys elementary school in Vancouver

Fire destroys elementary school in Vancouver
(Photo from KATU-TV, Portland, Ore.)
VANCOUVER, Wash. - An early Sunday morning fire has destroyed an elementary school in Vancouver.

Evergreen Public Schools spokesman Carol Fenstermacher says Crestline Elementary School is a total loss, and school officials are working to find an alternative place to send the school's 500 students.

In the meantime, classes are cancelled.

Fenstermacher says fire officials don't know what started the blaze.

The fire started just after 3 a.m., firefighters said.

Neighbor Brenda Cruz said she was walking her dog near the school when she saw the fire.

"I saw some fire on the ground and some flames kind of coming down," Cruz said. "At that point it was small, so I called 911."

Insurance will cover the damage, Fenstermacher said. She said the school's 50 staff members will stay employed.

Fenstermacher says fire officials don't know what started the blaze, but it "totally destroyed" the school.

Nearly 40 firefighters responded to the fire at the school. One firefighter was hurt, but his injuries were minor and he was released from the hospital, according to Vancouver Fire spokesman Kevin Stromberg.

The school district will begin to work on a long-term plan for the students and staff.