Nine teachers suffered minor injuries as they fought to evacuate students from a smoke-filled part of Hillcrest High School Friday.
Lt. Bob Pendleton, Salt Lake County Fire Dept., said teachers had extinguished a fire in the men's room in the main building by the time county firefighters arrived just after 12:30 p.m. at the high school. "A plastic paper towel dispenser was burning and the smoke was thick, black and highly toxic," Pendleton said.The teachers suffered smoke inhalation when they took time to battle the fire and to make sure all students exited the building safely, according to Pendleton. None of the estimated 200 to 300 students in the structure were injured.
Eight of the faculty members were treated at the scene. One teacher was taken to Cottonwood Hospital where he was treated and released.
School was suspended at 1:50 p.m. when fire crews continued to have difficulty dissipating the smoke, Lt. Dennis Steadman, Salt Lake County Fire, reported.
All the doors to the building were open, Pendleton explained, which trapped the smoke inside. Firefighters closed the building off and forced the smoke out through designated openings.
A Hillcrest student suspected of starting the blaze is in custody, according to Steadman.
Fire damage is minimal, Steadman said. "Smoke damage will be more difficult to estimate," Steadman reported. He said everything in the building will need to be washed.