Student: 'Scared for our little brothers and sisters'

Student: 'Scared for our little brothers and sisters' »Play Video

Update: A spokesman for Portland Public Schools said the district will move Marysville K-8 students and staff to the Rose City Park building at 2334 N.E. 57th Ave. There will be no school for students until Monday Nov. 16. The Rose City Park building will open at 8:45 a.m. Monday.


PORTLAND, Ore. - Crews raced to a school in Southeast Portland Tuesday afternoon as a 3-alarm fire raged in the building. All students and staff were accounted for and no serious injuries to staff or students were reported.

One staffer reportedly had a hard time breathing but no other injuries were reported.

Flames and heavy dark smoke poured from the Marysville Elementary School at Southeast 78th and Raymond just before noon and reportedly the fire broke out at about 11:30 a.m. The school has an enrollment of 460 students.

The school facilitates students in kindergarten through eighth grade. At 85 years old, it is one of the oldest schools in the city.

Fire alarms reportedly rang as the fire began, prompting an orderly evacuation to Holgate Library. Firefighters said the school doesn't have a sprinkler system.

The fire began near the eastern corner of the school, firefighters said. 

More than 100 firefighters attacked the blaze that quickly spread through the attic. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the east side of the building but there is smoke and water damage throughout the building.

A woman who lives near the school and was once a student said she smelled a burning odor before the fire broke out.

KATU News reporter Thom Jensen, who was in a backyard of a home very close to the fire, said about 100 firefighters were in a defensive position and that the building is old and the wood materials were burning rapidly.

Jensen said a janitor told him the fire alarms activated and the building was immediately evacuated. He said the janitor went to the principal's office to see if the alarm was a drill but then noticed smoke at one end of the structure.

One Marysville student who contacted KATU News via cell phone said they thought it was another fire drill when they evacuated the school and only saw smoke once they were lined up outside.

Another student, Jordan, 11, told KATU News that he smelled smoke when the alarms rang and the principal told them to line up and exit the building. Once outside, they could see the flames above the roof.

"We were scared for our little brothers and sisters," Jordan said.

Aerial views from the KATU Jet Ranger 2 helicopter showed the fire was widespread and had broken through the roof. The school appears to be heavily damaged.

KATU viewers all the way to Vancouver, Wash., reported seeing the smoke early Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

Kids evacuate from Marysville safely, orderly

The aftermath of Tuesday's Marysville School fire, courtesy Portland Fire & Rescue:

Photo courtesy Portland Fire & Rescue