A large fire broke out at Fox Elementary School late Friday night, causing extensive damage to the building, located in Richmond’s fan district.
The Richmond Fire Department responded to the call at 2300 Hanover Avenue as flames engulfed the school. Built in 1911, the school has about 350 students, according to state figures reported in the fall.
The Richmond Fire Department worked to extinguish the flames on all sides until about 1 a.m. when the blaze was largely contained. The teams remained on site all morning.
Much of the top floor and the roof of the school were destroyed or damaged.
Jason Kamras, superintendent of Richmond Public Schools, held a briefing Saturday morning.
“I would like to ask everyone to please keep our students first, their families and their teachers, our support staff, please keep them in your prayers,” Kamras said. “Please reach out and support them in any way you can.”
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The school is collecting donations for families and staff affected by the fire at the RPS Education Foundation site.
An investigation will take place, but information obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch suggests the first alarm may not have triggered an appropriate response.
At 9:29 p.m. the first call was made to the fire department, but after visiting the school they reported seeing nothing unusual through the windows.
As it was out of school hours, calls were made to the alarm company and RPS to gain access to the building, but no access was granted as a result of these calls.
At 10:09 p.m., according to calls from dispatch, those firefighters left the scene, unable to identify anything of concern.
Around 26 minutes later, flames were visible from the outside and the call went out for firefighters to battle what eventually became a major blaze.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch will have continuing updates on fire and building rescue efforts throughout the day on Saturday.
Photo and video gallery: Fire at Fox Elementary School