VANCOUVER – A three-alarm fire destroyed Crestline Elementary School in Vancouver early Sunday morning.
Officials said the blaze broke out around 3:17 a.m. at the school, 13003 SE 7th St., which quickly ripped through the building, rendering it a complete loss. Investigators on Monday estimated that it would take at least a week to unravel the cause of the fire.
Firefighters from Vancouver and Portland battled the blaze that burned well into late Sunday morning. One firefighter was reportedly injured and was treated and released. There were no reports of any other injuries.
Teachers and 498 students were without a school and district officials said classes would be cancelled until Thursday. After that, they will be sent by grade to other schools.
"I love that school. There were a lot of friends there, that I really loved," said 3rd grader Veda Samos.
"I thought they were kidding until I saw the video,” said 2nd grader William Avelar Walker. “Then I was just shocked that it was burned down."
"This affects so many people. Everybody is in wonderment,” added William’s mom, Deborah Avelar. “You know, what do we do?"
On Monday, the community began to rally together to do what they could to help. That included a stay-at-home mom organizing a book drive, a local photographer donating proceeds from photo shoots, a T-shirt maker and a major burger chain raising money for school supplies.
Firefighters said they were alerted about the fire from an alarm but do not yet know the official cause of the blaze.
Raw video: Fire collapses roof at Crestline Elementary
Neighbors told KGW they heard children running around the school and others reported hearing fireworks overnight.
Federal, state and local investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze, but could not enter Sunday because the building was too hot.