Overnight fire at North Canyon High School might have been senior prank

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 17 at 11:37 AM

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PHOENIX – Investigators are trying to determine is an overnight fire at a Phoenix high school might have been a senior prank gone awry or simply an accident.

Fire crews were called to North Canyon High School near 19th Place and Union Hills Drive at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

One classroom in a portable building had been set on fire and destroyed. That room reportedly contained physical education supplies.

Sierra Huff, who lives near the school, heard the fire alarms and called 911. After making the call, she walked a short way down the street and spotted the smoke on the north side of the school.

"I'm happy they came when they did because it could have been a lot worse," Huff said.

Police reportedly received a call from a witness who claimed to have seen as many as six vandals at the school earlier in the night. Officers have not determined whether that information is reliable or if the call was connected to the fire.

No injuries were reported and the fire crews were able to contain the damage. Tuesday's classes were not affected by the fire.

The district has confirmed that an intrusion call was received from the school's security system at about 2 a.m., but declined to comment any further.

Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened. It's not yet clear if the fire was started deliberately, but investigators are calling it suspicious, mostly because it happened in a portable building.

State fire marshals will be taking over the investigation because the fire happened on public school property. The Phoenix Fire Department will assist.

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