STREETSBORO, Ohio - An hour after the fire was first reported Tuesday, crews from around Portage County continued to pour water on Streetsboro High School.
It was just after 5:30 p.m. when a custodian spotted the smoke and flames and called for help.
"Upon arrival, we had heavy smoke and fire inside the gymnasium working inside the school, no school activities going on," said Lt. Mike Dichiro with the Streetsboro Fire Department.
The reason for so few in the building: the seniors at the school graduated last week.
"I'm grateful that I got out of here before that. I feel bad for the kids that still have to take finals," said April McClure, a senior.
Finals for the rest of the high school were scheduled to start Wednesday. Right now, those tests and the condition of the gym for summer activities are what worry the students most.
"For volleyball and basketball both, we condition, and I mean volleyball season starts mid June so don't know what we're going to do," said Jordan Genovese, a junior.
First glance of the inside of the gym showed that they'll be looking for a new place to play. The gym was heavily damaged by the smoke, heat and water.
In addition, there were immediate concerns about the outside wall that cracked in the heat.
"We're bringing in a structural engineer right now to give us an estimate,” said Chief Wayne Johnson with the Streetsboro Fire Department. “If it's safe, then we're going to start doing an investigation to determine the exact cause of where the fire started."
In the meantime, the more than 500 students left in grades nine through 11 got the word late Tuesday night to stay home Wednesday.
"We have a system of alert emergency that will be able to get out to them so everyone that needs to know will know."
Chief Johnson said due to the extensive damage, the school has been shut down for the year.
"The gymnasium is the majority of the school and everything else runs off of that. There's water damage there's smoke damage and there's heat damage throughout the whole facility," Chief Johnson said.
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