Sirens. Lots of sirens were reported by Snoqualmie business owners as fire truck after fire truck tore through the historic downtown core Thursday afternoon, March 20, 2014.
At approximately 12:15PM, the Snoqualmie Fire Department responded to a 911 call and an automatic alarm reporting a fire at Mount Si High School. The building was promptly evacuated of its roughly 1,200 occupants, with fire fighters arriving in just over six minutes.
The text I received from my student inside the school said, “Fire at school. Fire alarm went off. It smells and I see smoke.” She said she knew it wasn’t a drill because “none of the teachers know what’s up.”
Students and staff were ushered to the football stadium where they stayed as multiple fire vehicles responded to the scene. They were then moved to the gymnasium when it was apparent the fire was under control.
On the scene, fire fighters found heat and smoke in the kiln room and an area burning around the chimney. They quickly applied water and tore back the roof to confirm it was not spreading. Nineteen firefighters and three chief officers responded to the incident.
A witness estimated seven fire engines were at the scene, including some from Fall City and Eastside Fire & Rescue.
Early reports from the Snoqualmie Valley School District said the fire appeared related to the kiln and chimney in the ceramics classroom. Snoqualmie Fire Chief, Mark Correira, said the fire also put smoke into hallways of the high school.
Police confirmed there were no injuries. Students returned to class around 1:30PM. The fire, ruled accidental, caused about $10,000 in damages to the ventilation system and roof area surrounding it.
“These types of fires are fairly rare,” said Chief Correira. “Fortunately, the alarm system and the quick response from the school and fire fighters helped limit the amount of damage.”
School hallways near rooms 103 & 105 where the fire started remained closed to student through Friday, March 21st. Those rooms are located in the portion of the school constructed and opened in the early 1950’s.