Boy sent to hospital burn unit after fire at Pinellas County school

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An 8-year-old boy and a teacher were injured during a fire at a Pinellas County school.

  • Boy, teacher burned in Pinellas elementary school fire
  • 8-year-old was sent to Tampa General burn unit
  • Firefighters said blaze happened in the classroom

Largo Fire EMS Chief Terry Tokarz said the boy had burns on his body and was sent to the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital. The teacher also had minor burns, but she was treated on scene according to Tokarz.

The 911 call was a report of a structural fire at the school. When firefighters arrived, they learned the fire happened in the classroom.

Tokarz said there was no structural damage in the classroom, and no other students were injured.

As to how the fire started and what led to it, Tokarz and school district officials said that was under investigation.

School district officials said students were evacuated off campus for about 30 minutes. Parents said they were unaware of what was going on when they came to pick up their children at dismissal.

“They wouldn’t say anything,” said Norma Gonzalez. “That bothers me, because my child is in VPK and then I have my nephew. And they were just like, ‘it’s fine — if it was your child, we would’ve called you.’ Excuse you, there’s a child being lifted away. Was my child near that child? That’s traumatizing, and I feel like they didn’t handle it the right way.”

Pinellas County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Wolf said their first priority was the children and their safety. School will resume Thursday.

“We have school counselors, social workers and psychologists available at the school. We know that this is going to be a traumatic time for some of the students and we have resources available to assist them through that, ” said Wolf.

An automated phone call was also sent to parents. It said:

Hello, this is Mr. Feeney, principal at High Point Elementary. I am calling to inform you that our school was evacuated this afternoon after a student was injured at school today and taken to the hospital. The school was evacuated to keep all students safe while the incident was addressed. All students followed the proper procedures for an evacuation and dismissal was delayed by 15 minutes. There were many first responders on our campus. If your child has questions about what happened at school today, please tell them there was an emergency and we needed assistance from police and fire rescue. We have support available from our social workers and school counselors if you feel your child needs additional support. Please contact our office during regular school hours if your child needs additional support. Thank you.

The incident is being investigated by Pinellas County Schools Police and the state fire marshal.

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