A fire of suspicious origin caused damage estimated at more than $500,000 at the Barranca Elementary School in Covina Sunday night, leaving more than 120 students without classrooms. A Covina Fire Department spokesman said plastic trash cans filled with combustible materials were ignited in one room shortly after 9 p.m., and the fire destroyed two rooms and damaged two others. It took firefighters half an hour to contain the fire. No suspects have been arrested.
Supt. Erwin Jones said the displaced students are meeting in the school cafetorium while the Covina-Valley Unified School District tries to find portable classrooms that can be moved to the school. Jones estimated the cost of rebuilding the wing at about $500,000 and added that textbooks, furniture, television sets, two computers and teachers' files were also destroyed. The Barranca school is in a quiet middle-class neighborhood near the Eastland Shopping Center and vandalism there has been rare.