Fire at old Burien Elementary School now an arson case

BURIEN, Wash. — Late Tuesday night, fire crews throughout King County rushed to the old Southern Heights Elementary School on reports of a brush fire outside the building.

When crews arrived, the brush fire at the front of the building quickly spread to the gym.

A fire marshal with King County Fire District 2 tells KIRO 7 the King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this as an arson.

He says detectives have found surveillance video showing a black sedan with a few people parked inside the school lot allegedly lighting what appeared to be fireworks and one of the fireworks hit the brush.

Crews say even with that significant piece of evidence, they hope the public will reach out to the Sheriff’s Office and provide more answers.

“And develop a case in which they can determine A) the cause of the fire and if somebody did cause the fire on purpose or an accident, what to do next,” Eric Autry with King County Fire District 20 said.

The school closed down a few years ago, but the Highline School District uses it for its Virtual Academy and Innovation Heights program, which combined has 250 students.

Tove Tupper with the school district says while this is upsetting to see, the district is thankful no one was hurt.

“This is difficult news. But our priority and commitment is making sure that we have a safe and comfortable learning environment by day one on the first day of school in the fall, Tupper said.

The fire was put out within a few hours, but the fire marshal with King County says the damage to the building is significant and could cost millions to fix.

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