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Angeles County | Community News File / South Los Angeles

Blaze Damages Cafeteria at Elementary School

July 22, 1998

A newly opened elementary school was left without a cafeteria after a suspicious fire engulfed the structure's roof and attic Tuesday morning.

The blaze at Russell Elementary School, near the Walnut Park neighborhood, was reported by a passerby at 1:01 a.m. and was extinguished by firefighters within an hour.

Damage is estimated at $200,000, and no one was injured, said Sheriff's Deputy Boris Nikolof.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is working with the Sheriff's Department to determine the cause of the blaze.

Upon hearing about the fire, Mayor Richard Riordan talked to Ron Burkle, head of the Food 4 Less supermarket, who donated snacks for the children, said press secretary Noelia Rodriguez. The Sears department store on Olympic Boulevard also donated a refrigerator to the school after manager Joe Diaz was contacted by Riordan.

The more than 900 children at the year-around school received breakfast and lunches prepared at other school facilities, said Principal Peggy Presley.

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