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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:01 p.m., Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Big Island fire closes high school

Advertiser Staff

HILO, Hawai'i — About 1,300 Big Island students were told to stay home today after an early morning fire did more than $1 million in damage Waiakea High School's administration building.

Fire officials this morning had not determined the cause of the fire. Waiakea Principal Patricia Nekoba said the blaze is the third suspicious fire on campus in the last six weeks.

The other two fires damaged portable classrooms on the Hilo campus. School officials do not know if the fires were started by the same people, Nekoba said.

School complex area superintendent Valerie Takata said the blaze was reported by a neighbor at about 1:07 a.m. today and apparently started in the school registrar's office.

The registrar's office was gutted. Areas used as health room and areas used by counselors and special education staff as well as the principal's and vice principal's offices suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage, Takata said.

The school will remain closed tomorrow. No classes had been scheduled for the rest of the week because of a teacher training day and the Good Friday holiday, but Nekoba said the school will reopen Monday.