Fire in portable building leaves 80 students without a classroom

A fire in a portable building at Camino Real Elementary School in Hays County has left approximately 80 students without a classroom. 

The fire began around 11 p.m. Monday. The first day of school was last Thursday.  

“The fire departments still investigating it,” Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy said. “It looks like it’s gonna be an accidental fire, related to an air conditioning unit either mechanical or electrical.”

“It was, it was tough.” recalled Melissa Rivera-Brown. 

The second grade teacher’s classroom was destroyed in the blaze. She lost her classroom supplies, and her students lost their school supplies during the second week of school.  

“[The students] were very shocked. It was hard for them to understand that they had lost everything.” she said. 

The fire decimated one portable building containing two classrooms, including Rivera-Brown’s. The other classroom belongs to a first-year teacher. 

“Knowing that it’s all gone, it’s tough for her.” said Rivera-Brown. 

Power was also cut off for the building next to the one that caught on fire. That one also contains two classrooms. School staff tell us they believe power will be restored to the building that remained intact within a week. They estimate it will take six to eight weeks to replace the one that burnt down and structural damages are being covered by insurance. 

As for student and teacher supplies, school staff say they have received a flood of donations. 

“Knowing that there’s people out there rooting for us, it makes it bearable,” Rivera-Brown said. 
“Knowing that once there’s an actual structure for us -- that we’re gonna be okay.” 

The district is encouraging donations be made through the Camino Real PTA. 

“It’s a horrible thing to happen. But the good news on that is that the outpouring of support and the sentiment and the love coming in from the community.” Savoy said.