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Fire investigation ongoing at OVUHS

On April 7, at 12:53 p.m., a fire alarm at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon alerted local fire crews to a blaze. Most occupants probably thought it was just another false alarm that the school had been plagued with lately. But it soon became apparent as the school was being evacuated that there was more happening than just an alarm. One of the girls bathrooms on the ground floor was on fire. Unfortunately it was not confined there. The ventilation system at the school enabled the flames to spread to second story bathroom directly above All the staff and students escaped the building safely, and volunteer firefighters from Brandon and Pittsford arrived to battle the blaze. They quickly extinguished the fire, and began ventilating the building. The damage, according to a press release by Sergeant James Cruise of the Vermont State Police Fire Investigation Unit, was moderate with both direct fire damage and extensive smoke damage to a large section of the school. According to local officials the ground story bathroom was completely destroyed. The incident was investigated by Police Detective Cruise, Investigator Patterson of the Division of Fire Safety and officers from the Brandon Police Department. It was quickly determined that the fire was intentionally set, though officials have not commented on how the fire started, or if they had any suspects. Officials informed members of the Otter Valley school board that they want to get to the bottom of this quickly, because if this fire had gone any longer undetected it could have spread through the entire school, causing much more damage, including the loss of lives. Current damage is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. Anyone with any information on the fire is asked to contact Sergeant Cruise at 773-9101, or the Brandon Police Department at 247-5723. You can also contact the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 1-800-32-ARSON.

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