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3 Alarm Fire Burns Vacant San Bernardino School

By MIKE MCCLINTOCK, Correspondent | July 29, 2020 | CALIFORNIA

Story No. 073120102

San Bernardino, CA - At 10:00PM on July 29th, San Bernardino County Fire crews were dispatched to a reported commercial structure fire in the 1500 block of 7th Street,
San Bernardino. Multiple 911 callers stated smoke and flames from a vacant school.

Crews arrived within 5 minutes to find smoke showing from a large, connected, single-story vacant school. Crews initiated a fire attack, prioritizing a primary search and exposures to other wings of the school. During the initial attack all searches of the building came up negative.

Windy conditions quickly spread the fire through the building. Due to the heavy smoke and fire conditions, an operational retreat was declared. Large volumes of water were flowed from multiple ladder pipes, deck guns and hand lines. Crews prioritized keeping the fire from spreading laterally through the remainder of the large, connected school. A second and ultimately third alarm was struck to bring additional companies to the incident. The fire was brought under control in approximately 90 minutes. Crews remained on-scene throughout the evening and into the morning working on overhaul.

Due to the instability of the structure, the building was red tagged. After fire suppression was complete, the building was turned over to San Bernardino Building/Safety and Code Enforcement. The school, vacant at the time of the fire was built in 1934 and covered more than 22,000 square feet. The fires cause and origin is under investigation by #SBCoFD Office of the Fire Marshall Investigators. No damage estimates were available at the time of the release, but the school sustained heavy losses.

San Bernardino County Fire responded with 15 Engines, 4 Trucks, 3 Chief Officers, a Safety Officer and two Fire Investigators. CALFIRE San Bernardino / Highland Fire assisted with an engine. While area crews worked the fire, move-up Engines from Redlands, San Manuel, Linda Linda and Rancho Fore were moved to vacant stations to provide uninterrupted service. Thanks to our cooperators for the coverage and assist.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.