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Fire Intentionally Set at Pasadena School Gym; Teacher Treated for Smoke Inhalation

Published on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 | 6:12 am

A fire intentionally set in the gym at Marshall Fundamental School in Pasadena on Tuesday morning resulted in smoke and water damage to the gym floor and adjacent classrooms, causing damage estimated at more than $100,000, displacing gym activities and some classes.

One teacher was evaluated at the scene for smoke inhalation but was not transported to a hospital, according to city fire officials.

The Pasadena Fire Department responded to a fire alarm activation at about 10:10 a.m. at the school at 990 N. Allen Ave. 

Arriving firefighters found smoke coming from the gym and multiple fire sprinklers activated. 

More units were assigned.

Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set inside the gymnasium. 

“A student was detained for questioning. The specifics of the incident remain confidential while law enforcement investigates,” Marshall Principal Lori Touloumian said in an email.

Police described the suspect as a 13-year-old student who was seen by a witness leaving the fire’s ignition area as the fire alarm sounded. The witness positively identified the student, who was still on campus when police officers responded around 11:00 a.m., according to Lt. Edgar Sanchez.

In addition to the smoke damage and sprinkler water, fire operations significantly damaged the gym floor and adjacent rooms. Classes normally held in those rooms were temporarily relocated pending cleanup and repairs.

“Students and staff were evacuated per our emergency protocols and the fire department responded. Students and staff are safe. There were no injuries,” Touloumian said.

“Once we received the ‘all clear’ from the fire department to reinhabit the school, students resumed the normal school day and classes in the D building were reassigned to the auditorium,” she said.

At the height of operations, the fire department had five engines, two truck companies, one rescue ambulance, three fire prevention inspectors, two arson investigators, one deputy chief and one battalion chief at the scene. Pasadena police officers and Pasadena Unified School District officials also assisted.

The incident remains under investigation.

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