EL MONTE, Calif. (KTLA) — A massive fire at a high school in El Monte gutted the cafeteria building, but classes were set to resume on Tuesday.
Officials said the three-alarm blaze broke out at Mountain View High School around 2:30 a.m. in the cafeteria’s attic.
“The collapse of the facade and the interior roof were continuing throughout the incident,” explained Tony Imbrenda, of the L.A. County Fire Department.
“It was absolutely unsafe to operate from within,” he added.
That meant that 150 firefighters had to shift from an aggressive stance into defensive mode. One firefighter was hurt — suffering a minor back injury — but declined treatment.
Four hours after the fire began, it was finally knocked down. And when the smoke cleared, the 200-foot by 200-foot building was a total loss.
Salvage crews were left to pick p the charred pieces of a place where students shared so many memories.
“I’m kinda like in shock still!” said student Carolina Herrera. “Basically almost everything that helps run the school is all gone!”
“As I got a closer image, I started seeing everything and it’s all gone,” student Sergio Mora Jr. related.
“It’s devastating, and like everyone else I’m just thankful no one was hurt,” he added.
There was no immediate word on the damage estimate from the blaze. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.