A blaze at Gateway Middle School in Killeen on Saturday took local police and fire departments about two hours to contain.
The fire was reported at 3:42 p.m. at the alternative school, located in the 1300 block of Gowen Drive.
Police and firefighters arrived to find the offices at the school engulfed in flames, according to a Killeen Independent School District news release. The school offices were destroyed and other buildings sustained fire, smoke and water damage.
Crimson Fundling, who lives across the street from the school, said she called 911 to report the fire when she first saw smoke.
Susan Ketterman said she and a group of friends were walking down the street when they saw a black man about 16 to 17 years old jumping the school fence and running away shortly before seeing smoke billowing from the building.
That information was passed to a Killeen police officer at the scene, she said.
“A lot of kids go to school here,” Fundling said. “I wonder what they’ll do now.”
Killeen ISD administrative staff is assessing damage to the building.
School officials are meeting throughout the weekend to work on a plan for classes on Monday, said Leslie Gilmore, the district spokesperson.
“Right now all we’re concerned about is the safety of our staff and our students and making sure that everything is taken care of in that area,” she said.
Gilmore said the district plans to post updates on its Facebook page, as well as notify parents via the school’s emergency contact system.
“It’s devastating to see any type of structural damage to any of our buildings because the school district is very important to the community,” she said. “It’s a bit of a shock.”
About 140 students attend the high school portion of the building, and more than 70 children attend the middle school campus. Officials said structural damage on the middle school is extensive and possibly a total loss.
No injuries were reported, officials said.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, and the Killeen Fire Department continues to investigate.
Temple Daily Telegram staff writer Deborah McKeon contributed to this report.