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Investigation delayed into what sparked the massive fire at Fox Elementary School in Richmond

Posted at 10:47 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 10:47:08-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The investigation into what caused the fire that destroyed William Fox Elementary School in Richmond is at a standstill due to structural issues preventing investigative teams from proceeding safely into the old school building, according to Chrys Slaughter, a spokesperson from the Richmond Fire Department.

Fox parents and people who live near the elementary school in Richmond's Fan District had hoped the building could be stabilized as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

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Aerial photos show the devastation a fire caused at Fox Elementary School in Richmond, Va.

The fire happened on February 11, 2022.

Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young previously told the CBS 6 Problem Solvers that the board was waiting for the Richmond Fire Department to finish collecting evidence before stabilization could happen.

Richmond Public Schools spokesperson Sarah Abubaker previously said Richmond Schools would submit the required building permits for stabilization by March 31.

But Slaughter said in an email Tuesday that "structural issues were identified that must be addressed before the multiple investigative teams can proceed safely into the building to complete their investigations."

She added that "once the building is stabilized and investigators can safely resume their work, we will complete the investigation and share it with the public."

No one was hurt in the fire that started after school hours on a Friday night.

On February 11, 2022, when a smoke alarm went off at Fox, the alarm never registered with the alarm company. It did not register because the panel was not reprogrammed with the 804 area code. That made it difficult for Richmond firefighters to understand what the panel's alert was telling them.

Firefighters spent about 12 minutes inside the school building investigating and then left. Fire crews returned just 26 minutes later to a burning school.

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Fox Elementary School suffers 'catastrophic damage' in Richmond fire

More than a month after their school building was destroyed in a fire, Fox Elementary students and teachers returned to in-person learning on March 21, 2022, at First Baptist Church on Monument Avenue.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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