Fires set at Olympia schools cause $15,000 in damage

ahobbs@theolympian.comJanuary 5, 2014 

Olympia fire crews responded to attempted arsons that damaged two schools Saturday.

Both fires were set either late Friday or early Saturday morning, deputy fire chief Greg Wright said.

A bale of hay was set on fire at Pioneer Elementary School, 1655 Carlyon Ave. SE. The exterior damage occurred on the east side of the school building. The smoke had penetrated the building and set off fire alarms inside the gymnasium around 7:30 a.m., but the fire was just about out when crews arrived.

In addition, a trash can was set on fire outside Nova School, 2020 22nd Ave. SE. The fire had fizzled by the time crews arrived just after 9 a.m. A school staff member had discovered the fire.

Local contractor Michael Harrison was wiping down and painting the damaged portion of Nova School’s exterior Saturday afternoon. A sheet of plywood covered a window in the back where the fire had charred a wall from the ground to the roof’s overhang.

On the inside of Nova, the private school reeked like campfire and burned plastic from the bag that had lined the trash can outside. After arriving to make the repairs, Harrison opened several windows to air out the school.

“It doesn’t take very much smoke in a building to make it smell bad,” Wright said.

Damage at both schools was estimated at a combined $15,000, said Wright, adding that both schools have alarms and sprinklers.

No people were inside either building when the fires occurred.

There are no suspects at this time, and the attempted arsons are under investigation, police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869

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