Update: Forest Hill High fire started with appliance

Photo by Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post
Photo by Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post


Update: Principal Mary Stratos says that it appears an appliance was the source of the fire that happened Sunday night. That small fire triggered the school’s sprinkler system and also brought out the fire department – and this morning she is singing their praises.

“What an unbelievable group,” Stratos said. “They went far and beyond.”

Authorities aren’t sure how or why the appliance caught fire (no detail yet on which appliance, but think coffee machine, microwave or such), but they are reviewing school video for clues, Stratos said.

Most of the damage is water damage that is in a couple of rooms including the band room, where a wall must be removed. Mitigation crews had removed the water by Monday morning, but the smell of smoke and burned plastic still hung in the air, prompted Stratos to close the building for now and relocate classes.

“We’ve put in new charcoal filters and air cleaners, so I just have to wait for those things to do what they’re supposed to do,” Stratos said.

Meanwhile, the school schedule is moving forward including students taking the computer-based Florida Standards Assessments for English.

Original post: A “small” fire at Forest Hill High School Sunday night triggered the sprinkler system and prompted West Palm Beach Fire Department to dispatch crews to the campus. In the end, some classrooms in one building suffered water damage, according to a call that went to parents this morning.

Classes will be shuffled to other rooms on the West Palm Beach campus, but school will continue as scheduled.

According to the call, a water mitigation company began the clean up work at midnight and will be there for the coming days.

Sounds like the school’s band, chorus and drama classes will be feeling the pinch. The call reports that band and chorus classes will meet instead in the school auditorium.

“Drama will be located in our lobby.” Imagining that’s a reference to the class.

Check back for details as they become available.

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