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14-year-old arrested for setting school fire

Mont Harmon Jr. High

Sun Advocate associate editor

A 14-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of starting the fire in in the custodian's office of Mont Harmon Junior High School that morning. The fire filled the building with acrid smoke and forced the evacuation of students and teachers.

Units from the Price fire department responded shortly before 9 a.m. They were later joined by backup fire fighters from Helper.

Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont said melted and flaming plastic dripped into the boiler room below the office.

"I came back to my office and saw the flames coming up, so I set off the alarm," said school custodian Cindy Basso.

Fire fighters donned self-contained breathing apparatus to enter the building. Basso's office above the boiler room contains cleaning chemicals.

The flames were put down quickly, but fire fighters had to inspect the building to make sure the fire had not spread through the ceiling.

Bedont credited the quick response of fire fighters that prevented the fire from spreading.

Evacuees from the school congregated in their assigned places outside the school, then walked over to the nearby school district offices where parents could pick them up.

School was dismissed for the rest of the day but classes were expected to resume Thursday.

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