Students return to class after intentional fire damages school

School reopens Wednesday morning

SPRING, Texas – Frank Elementary School will reopen Wednesday morning after a fire in the cafeteria Sunday night caused the school to cancel class for two days. Fire officials believe that someone deliberately set the fire.

The fire was reported about 11:30 p.m. at the school on Crescent Clover Drive.

"We have really missed the kids the past two days. We've been working hard and busy the whole time," said Frank Elementary School Principal Eve Messina. "It's hard to work when you don't have the kids here, so we're really excited to have them come back tomorrow."

Klein Independent School District officials said the building sustained extensive damage to its ceiling, but they did not have a firm estimate of the damage. The school board voted to allocate costs to renovate the cafeteria.

But even though school will be back open with classes starting at 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday, lunch will be served in the gymnasium.

"Obviously, our cafeteria is not ready to have lunch in here, and the serving area and the cooking area is not ready either, so we have moved all of our cafeteria tables and equipment down to the gym," said Messina, who also said lunch will be served in the gym for the remainder of the school year. 

Officials said Monday afternoon that investigators believe the fire was intentionally set and the person believed to be responsible has been identified.

The person’s identity was not immediately released to the media.

Dozens of fire restoration crews with Blackmon Moorning have been cleaning not only the cafeteria, but every inch of the school since Sunday night. Messina said crews will continue to burn the midnight oil and work until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Even though the fire was contained to a portion of the cafeteria, the smoke traveled through the entire school.

The fire also prompted officials to adjust the school’s STARR testing schedule. The following is the new schedule:

  • Wednesday - third and fourth Math, fifth Math Retest
  • Thursday - third and fourth Reading, fifth Reading Retest
  • Friday - fifth Science
  • Saturday- Make-up testing
  • Monday- Make-up testing

About 700 students are enrolled at the school.

STARR testing will resume for third, fourth and some fifth graders on Wednesday.

"We are reminding the kids to get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast and be ready for STARR testing tomorrow, said Messina.” We're also going to meet with them when we get here -- all third-, fourth- and fifth-graders -- and help them get settled back in and get them motivated to do their best on STARR."

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