- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) - A high school in this Willamette Valley city is expected to be closed until Monday after a large fire early Wednesday destroyed a building that housed the cafeteria, band and choir rooms. No one was hurt.

Nearly 70 firefighters responded to the blaze at South Albany High School. The roof of the burned building collapsed at about 5:30 a.m., two hours after the fire was reported, Albany Fire Department spokeswoman Wanda Omdahl said.

Gov. Kate Brown visited the site Wednesday afternoon, thanking fire crews and touring the scene with the fire chief and Greater Albany Public School District Superintendent Maria Delapoer, The Oregonian reported (https://is.gd/mFZ55M). Classes were canceled for Wednesday and Thursday and teachers have a previously scheduled “grading day” on Friday.

Cafeteria workers, who prepare about 4,000 school lunches for several schools, will transfer to other kitchens, the superintendent said.

Omdahl said she expects an investigation into the fire’s cause could begin Thursday if the site is safe enough for investigators to enter.

The school is one of two in Albany, a city of 51,000 about 25 miles south of Salem, Omdahl said. The school has 11 separate buildings, which limited damage.

Fire crews also responded to a separate fire and explosion at about the same time at a home a few blocks from the school. A resident there told the Albany Democrat-Herald that police who came to escort the family out said two propane tanks attached to a travel trailer caught fire. That led to an explosion. The cause of that fire was not immediately determined. No one was injured there either.

“This was totally unrelated to the fire at the school,” Omdahl said of the residential fire.


Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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