Student Arrested for Break-In, Arson at School

Classes were canceled at the high school in Bay Park so officials could conduct their investigations

Classes at Clairemont High School were canceled Wednesday after a break-in on campus followed by a fire that officials believe was deliberately set in a chemistry lab.

Officials arrested a 16-year-old student in connection with the break-in and arson.

The commotion at the campus in Bay Park began around 4:30 a.m. after the school security alarm sounded, alerting police to a possible burglary.

When officers arrived, they found several windows had been broken and saw two people running away from the school. One young man was taken into custody in connection with the break-in.

Shortly after the burglary investigation began, the school’s fire alarm rang out, pointing officials to a small fire that had sparked in a custodial closet inside a chemistry room. Police said the fire started from some sort of spilled liquid.

Firefighters were able to knock out the blaze by 6:20 a.m. Hazmat officials were called to investigate the liquid linked to the fire, and to determine whether the campus was safe for students.

A battalion chief said the blaze appeared to be set intentionally using that flammable liquid and some papers.

As of 7:40 a.m., school officials confirmed school would be canceled for the day so police and fire officials could finish their investigations.

Faculty planned to send a message to parents advising them on when and where to pick up their children from campus.

School usually begins at 7:30 a.m., so there were already several hundred students arriving on campus when classes were canceled. Those students were taken to the football field while parents waited for their release.

Parents who came back to get their student said that despite the disruptive events that unfolded, school staffers did a fine job of keeping students calm, safe and organized.

The second suspect seen running from the school had not been detained as of 11 a.m.

The Metro-Arson Strike Team (MAST) is still investigating. Meanwhile, the school district said classes will resume as normal tomorrow at Clairemont High School, but teachers will not be using the classroom that sustained fire damage.

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