Bathroom fire at S.J. Montgomery Elementary closes school Friday

S.J. Montgomery Elementary will be closed Friday after a 5-year-old student set a fire in a school bathroom Thursday, officials said Thursday.

The fire caused moderate damage to the school’s restroom, located near the kindergarten classroom wing, but no injuries were reported, said Alton Trahan, the Lafayette Fire Department’s public information officer.

“Investigators determined that a 5-year-old female student was playing with a lighter in the restroom. The student brought the lighter to school from home,” Trahan said in the news release.

Trahan said investigators believe the toilet paper was set on fire, which ignited the plastic toilet paper dispenser.

Trahan credited faculty and staff for quickly evacuating students from the campus to the adjacent Lafayette High after smoke was detected about noon Thursday. The evacuation lasted about 30 minutes, he said. The hallways near the restroom sustained minor smoke damage.

The closure will allow time to clean the school of smoke damage, Angela Morrison, Lafayette Parish School System spokeswoman, said in a release. Students will return to school on Tuesday, following Memorial Day.