Investigators say fire caused by heating unit

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Investigators determined that a fire that erupted at Savannah elementary school Wednesday morning was caused by the building's heating unit, according to Savannah Fire & Emergency Services.

Just before 5 a.m. Wednesday, a passerby saw flames shooting through the roof of the classroom building at Gadsden Elementary School at 919 May St.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in about 10 minutes and damage from the flames to one side of the modular structure, according to SFES. One side of the structure, which sits behind the main school building on the Sycamore Street side, sustained minor smoke and water damage, according to SFES.

"[There's] definitely a feeling of loss because we have lost a classroom students are accustomed to being in every single day, but it could have been worse. It could have happened when we had students and staff on campus, it did not," said principal Deborah R. Jones.

Fifteen fifth-graders have been relocated to a new classroom.

Investigators said the fire started on the inside of the classroom, extended to the wall and then to the building's ceiling. The building's heating unit, where they said the fire began, is attached to the exterior end of the building.

No one was in the structure at the time of the fire. There were no injuries.

Classes resumed Wednesday as normal.

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