They're in great spirits and were fortunate that (the church) was right across the street because right now it's 7 degrees in Highland. —Lone Peak Fire Battalion Chief Joe McRae
HIGHLAND — A fire at an elementary school Thursday morning sent students to a local church for shelter.
A parent dropping off a student at Freedom Elementary School, 10326 N. 6800 West, saw smoke coming out of the building near the lunchroom and auditorium just after students began arriving for the day, Lone Peak Fire Battalion Chief Joe McRae said.
Smoke filled the school, and 600 students were moved to a nearby church to stay warm, McRae said. The 600 other students who attend the school were due to arrive at 9:30 a.m. Their buses turned around en route, McRae said.
"With these little kids, this is an elementary school, so with the cold weather and trying to evacuate students, the staff did an excellent job," McRae said.
Lone Peak fire received the call just after 8 a.m. Crews from Lehi, American Fork and Lone Peak responded.
"We respond with as much manpower as we can," McRae said.
Fire crews do not know exactly what sparked the fire that began on the school's stage, but the source was an object that was plugged in on the stage, according to McRae.
The children sang Christmas carols as they waited to return to the school.
"They're in great spirits and were fortunate that (the church) was right across the street because right now it's 7 degrees in Highland," McRae said.
The flames were contained on the stage, which sustained very little damage.
Crews extinguished the fire around 8:30 a.m. Students were able to return to the school shortly after 9 a.m.
Contributing: Amanda Dickson, Grant Nielsen
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