Tragedy Strikes During Winter Break: Fire Destroys Lookingglass Elementary School’s Lower Building


Samantha Starns (S Photography)

Firefighters work to mop up hot spots at Lookingglass Elementary School.

Warrior Staff

At approximately 11:30 PM December 27, 2016, a fire was reported at Lookingglass Elementary School. Multiple fire-fighting agencies responded to the scene where they found the entire lower building engulfed in flames. The lower building housed the gym, cafeteria, library, musical instruments, and skating equipment, all of which were lost. The upper building housing the front office and classrooms is reported to have not been damaged by the fire.

The district is cooperating with the office of the Oregon State Fire Marshall, which is investigating the cause of the fire. The district is also working closely with utility agencies with the intent of continuing services to students at Lookingglass School after the winter break ends on January 3rd.

An emergency school board meeting was held on December 28th to pass an emergency resolution. The resolution, which passed without opposition, declared a state of emergency and allows the District to bypass the competitive bidding process in order to prepare the school building for the return of  students by January 3rd.

“At this point, there is nothing—absolutely nothing about closing the school.”

— Deyo Joers

At the meeting, audience members expressed concern over the rumor of Lookingglass School being closed. Superintendent Miller stated that “there has been no discussion of closing the school.” He went on to explain that “the fire is being investigated by both the Fire Marshall’s office and the district’s insurance agency. Once these investigations are over, the district and board will  have a better idea of how to proceed.”

Mr. Miller and the board expressed that their biggest concern at the moment was the education of Lookingglass Elementary School students and ensuring they have a place to return to following the end of winter break. Before the meeting ended, school board member Deyo Joers reiterated, “At this point, there is nothing—absolutely nothing about closing the school.”

Following the fire, there has been an outpouring of support from the community. Mr. Miller thanked the Lookingglass Grange for offering their building to be used to help ensure students have a place to eat breakfast and lunch. The Lookingglass TAPS (Teacher and Parent Service) are selling unity t-shirts for $10 (to order email your size to: [email protected]). Several community members have also already volunteered their time to help clean up once investigators have cleared the scene.

Part of the remains of Lookingglass Elementary’s lowe building following the December 27th fire. Picture by S Photography