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Mar-12-2009 00:00printcomments

1700 Canby High Students Evacuated Over Fire

Fire at Canby High School Triggers 1700 Student Evacuation - Suspicious Fire Prompts Concern

Fire at Canby High
Fire at Canby High
Courtesy: Troy Buzalsky/Canby Fire

(CANBY, Ore.) - A manual fire alarm pulled at Canby High School Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. triggered a response that would lead to the evacuation of more than 1700 students. Canby High is located at 721 SW 4th Avenue in Canby.

Troy Buzalsky, Division Chief with Canby Fire, says Canby Fire units were immediately enroute; with crews learning via the school that there was a fire inside the girls restroom, in the 200 wing.

"When fire crews arrived the school was fully evacuated with nearly 1700 students lining the fire lanes pointing them to where the fire was burning."

Buzalsky says firefighters found very light smoke in the hallway of the schools 200 wing.

"Bystanders advised the firefighters that the fire had spread into the attic space. Crews entered the building enroute to the room in question to further investigate the situation."

He says that when firefighters opened the self closing door to the girls restroom, pressurized black smoke pushed from the opening, indicating a fire was burning somewhere in the room.

"Entering the zero visibility environment armed with full protective bunker gear, self-contained breathing apparatus, a thermal imagine camera, and a charged fire hose, crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire and search for potential victims," Buzalsky said.

The fire was quickly controlled and the attic space over the fire was checked for potential extension.

"Once fire crews confirmed the situation was stabilized and the atmosphere safe to occupy the school, not counting the wing involved in fire, was tuned back over to the school to reoccupy as needed," Buzalsky said.

Canby Police and Canby Fire are investigating the fire, which is considered suspicious at this time. The school has asked its the students that if they have any information about the fire they need to report it to school officials.

The damage to the school is approximately $20,000.00. There were no injuries reported to staff or students.

Canby High School is designed around a series of "wings" which are separated from one another with firedoors. These doors are tied to the fire alarm system and close when a fire alarm is activated.

Buzalsky explains that the reason that most of the school was able to reoccupy so quickly is because the firedoors kept the heat and smoke in the area of origin, thus reducing damage to the remaining structure.

"This fire serves as a great reminder on how important it is to maintain the buildings fire safety feature, so they can do their job should a fire erupt."

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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