VANCOUVER, Wash. — An fire destroyed Crestline Elementary School in Vancouver early Sunday morning.
Evergreen Public Schools spokesman Carol Fenstermacher says school will be canceled Monday and school officials are working to find an alternative place to send the school's 500 students.
Audrey Christina teaches third grade at Crestline and lives across the street from the school. She said one of her neighbors woke her up during the fire.
"I've been at Crestline 21 years," she said. "I walked out my door and looked at my classroom. I'm that close."
Christina told KATU News that she saw some kids lighting fireworks near the school between 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday night.
"I came outside and saw some kids with fireworks," she said. "And then I came back in and some of my neighbors told me they continued to hear fireworks at 3 o'clock this morning."
The fire started just after 3 a.m., firefighters said. 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."
Fenstermacher said insurance will cover the damage. She told KATU 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.
It could be several days before investigators determine a cause, according to Vancouver Fire spokesman Kevin Stromberg. He said investigators won't be able to enter the building until Monday.
"The fire spread quickly throughout the attic through the entire structure," Stromberg said. "When the school was built it was a requirement to have sprinklers in the structure, but not in the attic."
Stromberg said if the school were being built today, attic sprinklers would be required.
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.
The school district will begin to work on a long term plan for the students and staff.
"My first thought was 'what are we going to do with all the children?" Christina said. "It's going to be hard - hard for a lot of them. For a lot of kids, their safe place is at school."