Duval Charter School evacuated after fire

No injuries; students held in parking lot until parents pick them up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Duval Charter School in Arlington was evacuated by a fire Monday morning and students were held in the parking lot for parents to pick them up.

Students and teachers were evacuated after the fire alarm went off about 8 a.m., just before classes were to begin for the day.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue said light smoke was seen at the back of the school located at 100 Bell-Tel Way, just off Atlantic Boulevard. There were initial indications it was an electrical fire, but the State Fire Marshal is investigating.

IMAGES: Charter school evacuated

Officers on scene said the principal told them the cause of the fire was a copy machine, and that the second and third floors of the building were filled with smoke. The sprinklers in the building went off during the fire.

A teacher initially told Channel 4 that classes would resume within the hour, but administrators decided to cancel school for the day and began notifying parents.

A witness told Channel 4 they saw white smoke coming from the back of the school. Teachers added that the fire could possibly be related to an electrical issue and there were no injuries.

Students were still allowed to be dropped off at school and they were escorted by school staff to the parking lot. Administrators say children of parents who could not go pick them up would spend the rest of the day at another charter school in Baymeadows.

One parent said the students should not have been allowed to be dropped off if the fire had already started.

"Why would they wait until 15 minutes or 10 minutes later to tell us to come get the kids and the fire already started this morning before school started?" one mother said. "They probably should have called us before then."

Others felt the school did OK.

"I thought they did a awesome job, I mean, considering school hasn't even started yet when the alarm went off," parent Jessica Carey said.

A teacher said classes would resume Tuesday, and a call would go out to parents later Monday explaining what happened.

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