Fire destroys Polk County charter school - KPTV - FOX 12

Fire destroys charter school in rural Polk County

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Photo: Jolene Guzman, Polk County Itemizer-Observer Photo: Jolene Guzman, Polk County Itemizer-Observer

A charter school near Amity was destroyed by a fire Thursday.

Firefighters were called to the scene of Eola Hills Charter School, 7575 Bethel Road, in rural Polk County at 1 p.m. The fire was then immediately upgraded to two alarms.

"Zero to 60. It just blared up," said senior Marty Mayfield.

Mayfield told FOX 12 that he had just put his bag down inside the school when he heard an alarm and saw smoke down the hallway.

"All the kids were, you know, laughing about it and stuff. But a teacher looked at me, and she said, 'Marty, this isn't a drill," he said.

About 40 students and nine staff members all got out safely before firefighters arrived on thescene. The school teaches students in first grade through 12th grade. The building is considered a total loss, investigators said.

Investigators don't know what caused the fire, but they believe it started in the southeast corner of the building, they said. The fire is not considered suspicious, they added.

"A lot of the staff pour their hearts into this, and the students, you know, they learn and they enjoy coming here, so seeing the institute in shambles is difficult," said Assistant Principal Chase Emerson.

"I just kind of want to make the best of a bad situation," said Mayfield.

The school just got a new name and a facelift over the summer, including a new aluminum roof, administrators said. Mayfield told FOX 12 there were big plans for the building. Those plans are now on hold as administrators begin the difficult process of trying to figure out how to finish the school year.

"Hopefully this will really show people that there's a school out here, and we try really hard for our kids and we're trying to be something," Mayfield said.

The State Fire Marshal's Office was called in to assist with the investigation.

The school doesn't normally have classes on Fridays. Board members plan to meet on Friday to come up with a plan for next week and the rest of the year, administrators said.

Firefighters said there is only one hydrant in the rural area, which made fighting the fire even more difficult. Additional water was brought to the scene by truck.

The Statesman Journal and the Polk County Itemizer-Observer provided photos of the scene.

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