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Classes canceled Tuesday at Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton after fire

Classes canceled Tuesday at Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton after fire (PHOTO: KOMO News)

MILTON, Wash. -- Classes and all school-related activities are canceled at Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton on Tuesday after a fire in the boiler-room area damaged one of the school’s buildings.

The actual fire damage is pretty minimal, district administrators told KOMO News on Monday night. The bigger issue is the damage from all of the smoke and water, they said.

Water and smoke caused damage to the school’s gym, cafeteria and one of the restrooms right below where the fire started.

"Concern is hot water in this building because it was a hot water tank. And, you know, the smoke and the water damage. So, having school (Tuesday) is impossible," said Kevin Alfano, Superintendent of Fife Public Schools.

The school’s sprinkler system quickly kicked in and put the fire out just as parent Raj Sanghera came to pick up her son from soccer practice.

"We heard the fire trucks come in. First there was just one. And then a couple more came. And then we actually started smelling the smoke," she told KOMO News. "So, a lot of us parents walked over here and we saw the smoke shooting up from the roof."

A small number of students and staff members had to be evacuated. They were forced to leave their belongings behind.

None of the classrooms here were touched, administrators said. However, there is a smell of smoke in the air.

The fire marshal plans to rule the fire as accidental, he said.

"I’m happy that it was after school — that there were very few students inside the school. And nobody got hurt. Everyone’s safe," Sanghera. said.

"There were no injuries from the fire. And the good thing is the fire suppression system actually worked and put the fire out before it spread too far," Alfano said.

District staff members will meet Tuesday morning to talk about next steps and a plan to let students get any belongings that were left behind.

The district’s other schools will be on their regular schedules Tuesday.

Ironically, the building where the fire happened at Surprise Lake Middle School was already set to be demolished next June, Alfano said.

Voters passed a $176 million bond last February to build new schools and upgrade others, which includes replacing Surprise Lake Middle School. It was built in the early 1970s.

Construction on the new building is set to begin in July, Alfano said.

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