CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY)– School officials say Great Bridge Middle will remain online through the remainder of the week following an accidental fire over the weekend.

Captain Steve Bradley with Chesapeake Fire & Rescue said they received the call just before 7:45 a.m. Saturday off South Battlefield Boulevard.

The school had a working fire alarm that activated, allowing crews to keep the flames isolated to a single area.

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When fire crews first arrived, there was smoke coming from the building.

“What units found here was smoke pushing from the delta side of the building right where the shipping and receiving area was located. They had to force entry to that door. There were some paper pallets, reams of paper. We believe that’s where the origin of the fire is,” said Bradley.

Bradley said no one was inside the school when it happened, and it was under control in about 45 minutes.
Officials say the cause of the fire came from a wall-mounted electric heater and switch box. The fire has been ruled as accidental.

The damage it left behind will impact students this upcoming week. Chesapeake Public Schools officials say that due to smoke damage, the school shifted to asynchronous virtual learning for Monday. All afternoon activities were also canceled for Monday.

On Monday, CPS officials say the school will remain online through the remainder of the week as air quality inside the building remains a concern.

The school building will be closed to students and teachers.

Classes will meet online each day and will follow the regular school schedule.  Teachers will provide students with information on how to access virtual class meetings and assignments.

“Early on it looks like most of the fire damage itself is sustained to the shipping and receiving area…but smoke has escaped that area and the hallways and some of the classrooms, the auditorium,
do appear to be heavily affected by smoke damage, “explained Bradley.

“Definitely because of the size of the building, it’s a significant cleanup process and we want to make sure that’s done correctly so when the kids return to school, it’s safe,” Bradley added.

There were no injuries reported.