FIRE destroys much of small-town high school - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

FIRE destroys much of small-town high school

Updated:

OKTAHA, Okla. (AP) _ A restoration crew began inspecting what's left of Oktaha High School on Thursday, three days after a fire destroyed much of the building.

Vandals broke into the high school sometime Monday and set it ablaze, authorities said. Seven classrooms and two offices were destroyed in the fire, with damage estimated at about $500,000.

``From what I saw they might as well tear it down and rebuild it,'' said Darrin Smith, chief deputy of the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office. The state Fire Marshal's Office has ruled the blaze an arson, Smith said.

The district has about 600 students.

The Oktaha school board met in emergency session Wednesday to hire a restoration crew to inspect the relatively undamaged north wing of the high school, board President Jimmy Eller said.

School officials are trying to find ways to get the district ready for the Aug. 15 start of classes.

``Right now, we're trying to shoot for that,'' Eller said. ``We don't really know.''

There are no other buildings in the small town to accommodate classes, he said. But the state Department of Education might be able to send some mobile classrooms buildings so classes can begin on time, he said.

``We haven't made a determination on what we'll do and how we'll do it,'' Eller said.

The arson suspects may have broken windows on the building before setting the fire, officials said.
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