'One day it's there and the next day... it's in pieces'

'One day it's there and the next day... it's in pieces' »Play Video
Petrie Hall at Heritage University in Toppenish, Wash. Photo by Tyler Slauson, Action News

TOPPENISH, Wash. -- Petrie Hall at Heritage University was still smoldering two days after a devastating fire broke out. Crews are now left to clean up the mess that caused $3 million in damage.

Investigators got a closer look at the damage for the first time Tuesday.

Yakima Fire Chief Brian Vogel says the metal roof created an "oven" type of environment.

"One of the difficult parts we had was the amount of fire we had involved when we got there," Vogel said.

Crews removed pieces of the roof and knocked down sections of the brick walls. That allowed investigators take their first steps into the destruction and survey the damage.

Investigators didn't take any chances either. They used special equipment to avoid stepping on hot spots.

Restoring water is a top priority. Nearly all of the well water was used within the first five hours of the fire fight.

"As we started getting closer to the end, we actually started to run out of the water in those ring wells. They start sucking in sediment into the strainer," Vogel said.

The university tells us the wells will be cleaned and back at capacity by Wednesday.

Email and phone lines are still down, but classes are back on schedule. Students tell us they're still adjusting.

"You think, whoa, one day it's there and the next day everything changes and it's in pieces," said Heritage Student Cristal Rizo.

Pieces that will likely lay here and smolder for days to come.

Administrators say a permanent plan for rebuilding won't be decided for a few weeks.

It will take another ten days to restore Internet access.

Insurance is expected to cover the damage.