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Placer High School fire evacuates hundreds of students

Students, teachers safely leave upper campus classrooms at Auburn school
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A fire in a Placer High School classroom today led to the safe evacuation of hundreds of students before it was put out.

The fire was initially reported in an upper campus classroom at about 10:15 to 10:30 a.m., Placer High Assistant Principal Steve Caminiti said.

Students and staff were alerted and evacuated from upper campus buildings, Caminiti said.

Auburn Fire Chief Mark D‘Ambrogi said the fire was extinguished by 11 a.m. A cause and a damage estimate had yet to be determined, he said.

Firefighters concentrated on an art classroom on the first floor of an 85-year-old building, where black smoke could be seen pouring out of open windows. A total of 35 art students had been in class in that building when the fire broke out and left safely, Caminiti said.

“The teachers and students were awesome in responding to the evacuation,” Caminiti said.

By 11 a.m. no smoke was observed coming from the art classroom, which fronts Agard Street. Auburn Police shut down Agard Street from High Street to Orange Street while fire trucks parked in front of the building and firefighters moved equipment in and out of the structure.

By 11 a.m. students who had been evacuated from a standalone structure near Orange Street were allowed to return to their classrooms from the Earl Crabbe Gymnasium. Caminiti said that school officials were determining how best to continue classes for students who had been in the two-story building where the fire had occurred.