BAKER — Police Chief Mike Knaps said Monday night that investigators were questioning suspects in fires started Saturday evening in two older buildings on the campus of Bakerfield Elementary School.
Baker firefighters arrived on the South Drive campus shortly after 8 p.m. to find a shed behind the school engulfed in flames and heavy smoke coming from an old portable building at the end of a wing of regular classrooms.
Fire Chief Danny Edwards said someone apparently broke into the buildings and used a flammable liquid to start the fires.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office and Baker arson investigators also are investigating the incident, Edwards said.
Baker School Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said the shed once housed a tractor, but the wood-frame and metal building only contained cans of fluid used in duplicating equipment that the school no longer uses.
Joseph said the old classroom also was not being used for instructional purposes but some teachers may have been using it for storage.
“As soon as the fire marshal finishes the investigation, we will tear both of them down,” Joseph said.
“I’d like to compliment the Baker Fire Department for their quick response. They were there right away, and the fire didn’t have a chance to spread,” Joseph said.
Fire Department spokesman Howard Ward said firefighters initially concentrated on the old classroom to keep the fire from spreading to a wing of the school’s main buildings and an adjacent portable building that is used for instruction.
Zachary firefighters arrived to help extinguish the shed fire, Ward said.
The school is on a residential street, but has some woods behind it.
In 2006, during the Christmas break, a small portable building used for a reading program was destroyed by a fire, but investigators believe an electrical short caused the blaze, Edwards said.
That classroom was near the building damaged Saturday.