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Roof Fire Damages School's Offices

November 13, 1998|NICK GREEN

A heater in the attic sparked a fire that destroyed the roof of the 7,000-square-foot administration building at Ventura's Anacapa Middle School, authorities said Thursday.

The fire erupted about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and caused an estimated $250,000 in structural damage and another $70,000 to the contents of the Mills Road school, officials said.

"It was contained to the attic in the administration building. No other buildings were involved at all," said Principal Mike Johnson.

Administrative employees will work out of the school's gymnasium until the building is repaired, he said.

"We have a large room up there. We're going to set up office there and we'll be in good shape," Johnson said. The 13 administrative workers will probably be forced to use the makeshift offices until the end of the school year, he said.

The fire burned in the attic for some time before breaking out on the roof, said Bill Rigg, a battalion chief with the Ventura Fire Department. More than 40 firefighters quelled the blaze within 15 minutes, he said.

A forced-air heater that ignited nearby roof beams has been identified as the cause of the fire, authorities said.

The school had been scheduled for a $3.8-million renovation project because of the passage of a recent bond measure, so reconstruction due to fire damage will simply be added to the work, Johnson said.

"We're very, very fortunate," Johnson said as he surveyed the building's scorched ceiling Thursday afternoon. "In the scheme of life this is just a minor setback."

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