SIREN, Wis. (WEAU) – Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the fire that destroyed a local school’s gym and canceled classes for an entire school district.
It’s a story first broke on WEAU.com and followed closely on WEAU 13 News.
The fire happened Monday morning at the Siren Schools building, which houses all of the district’s K-12 classes.
WEAU was there as several local fire departments battled the blaze.
The fire alarms sounded at the Siren Schools building just before 11 a.m.
“We had our last fire drill last week,” said District Administrator Scott Johnson.
But this time, it wasn’t a drill.
“We could see the glow of a fire inside the equipment storage room,” Johnson said.
The District Administrator said the fire started in the small gym, which he said is the oldest part of the building.
More than 500 students and staff were safely evacuated and taken to a nearly convention center.
Four other fire departments answered the Siren Fire Department’s call for backup to fight the blaze.
“We do know there's an air handling room above that corner of the gym and we have motors up in that area. It appears the fire started up in that area,” Johnson said.
The Siren Police Department said the fire quickly spread into the gym’s ceiling, which made things difficult for firefighters to fight flames.
Siren Chief of Police Chris Sybers said no firefighters were hurt.
“Which is amazing considering the size and scope of what we had to deal with,” Sybers said.
He said the flames were snuffed out after a four hour fight.
Johnson said the school has major smoke and water damage and is old gym is a total loss.
He said it’s not yet known when school bells will ring again in Siren.
“Everything indicates that our end of the year came sooner than we expected. We have three days left,” Johnson said.
Chief Sybers said the building is not safe for students to enter.
He said the cause is still under investigation and it’s not yet known if the fire is suspicious.
(WEAU)-The Burnett County Sheriff's Department says fire crews are at the scene of a fire in the small gym at the Siren Public High School.
Deputies say the call came in around 10:50 a.m. Siren Fire Department is being assisted by several other local departments.
The Burnett County emergency manager told WEAU.com students were quickly evacuated and then sent home.
Nobody was hurt.
Crews were still fighting the fire as of 2pm.
Investigators have not determined a cause, however WEAU.com has learned from fire investigators, the flames started in the roof of the old gym. Then it spread to an equipment room, where the fire was initially spotted.
There were only three days of school left before summer break.
It was unclear if school would be held Wednesday.
We have a reporter at the scene and will bring you more on this story tonight on WEAU 13 News and right here on our website.