$10K reward offered in wake of classroom fire at Egan

Grace Hase/Town Crier
A fire ravaged four classrooms, including the one above, at Egan Junior High School in Los Altos Oct. 1.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department is offering up to a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to a suspect, an arrest or a conviction in the fire that badly burned a classroom at Egan Junior High School earlier this month, according to Ryan Cronin, acting chief fire investigator.

The fire, reported just before 8 a.m. Oct. 1, started at two points – in a trash can and an unlocked school locker, Cronin said. The blaze spread from the locker through an exterior wall into the classroom and climbed up into the attic, he noted.

Officials suspect arson, and the fire remains under investigation. Cronin said investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the department in searching for a cause.

Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier said the fire damaged four of the school’s classrooms.

“Two of the classrooms will be in service soon, with a third shortly after,” he said.

The fourth classroom, he added, will take some time to repair, but plans have been made to rearrange classroom schedules so that instruction can continue.

Egan Junior High Principal Keith Rocha said school administrators held a meeting Oct. 2 to update students on the incident. He reported that students expressed a commitment to remain upbeat and positive.

“Our student population is so amazing, and I can’t imagine there’s any involvement from our students,” he said.

The school does not have security cameras, according to Rocha, but administrators are now discussing the possibility.

Anyone with information on the cause of the fire is asked to call the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s anonymous arson tip line at (888) 341-4401.

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