Glendale’s Horizon Elementary School to remain closed after toilet paper set on fire in bathroom

Students are being moved to three different schools after Horizon Elementary School was closed due to a fire but the district isn't providing bus service.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 1:55 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:03 PM MST
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GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A West Valley elementary school will remain closed after a fire broke out in one of the bathrooms Tuesday morning. Crews responded just after noon to Horizon Elementary School near 47th and Olive avenues. While initial reports called for an extensive response, firefighters learned that a roll of toilet paper had been set on fire. Video from Arizona’s Family news chopper showed little smoke visible outside the school. There were no immediate signs of fire damage to the exterior.

Details exactly on what investigators are covered are limited. Still, school administrators wrote on the school’s website that restoration work remains underway, and students will attend three separate campuses based on students’ last names for the foreseeable future. In addition, the district is doing carbon dioxide testing to make sure the air is safe for students and staff. Once tests come back all clear, they will reopen the school.

But parents are now scrambling to get their kids to other schools in the district, and some of them are 20 minutes away. To make matters worse, the district isn’t providing buses, leaving parents with limited options. “At this time, we are not able to provide the transportation services. However, families have been able to pull up, we had a very positive turnout at those three locations,” said Andriana Parsons, Glendale Elementary School District PIO.

But not all parents are happy with the new transportation arrangements. “Hopefully the school will be open soon but. We’re definitely not going to drive miles and miles. It’s difficult for us because we have work schedules and then with my children, one of them is autistic. So, trying to adjust to that is going to be difficult for all of us,” said one mother. “We have decided to keep our children home. We are going to make the best of it and do homeschool.”

Police confirm they’re recommending charges against the student that will be sent over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review. The charges include arson of an occupied structure, aggravated criminal damage at a school, disorderly conduct involving a dangerous instrument and disrupting an educational institution.

Campus locations:

  • Last names A through E will attend Bicentennial North, located at 7237 West Missouri Avenue, Glendale, 85303. For drop off and pick up, pull into the campus from Missouri Avenue. The administrator on site will be Mr. Eric Cultum.
  • Last names F through O will attend the GESD System of Care Center, located at 7677 West Bethany Home Road, Glendale, 85303. For drop off and pick up, pull into the campus from Bethany Home Road. The administrator on site will be Ms. Shannan Bernal.
  • Last names P through Z will attend Desert Garden, located at 7020 West Ocotillo Road, Glendale, 85303. For drop off and pick up, pull into the campus from Ocotillo Road. The administrator on site will be Ms. Sarah Balder.

“We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work through this time together,” the letter concluded.