7/23/2014

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Heritage University still on fire 1 day later

Heritage University still on fire 1 day later
TOPPENISH, Wash. -- The main building at Heritage University in Toppenish caught fire Sunday afternoon. Officials say the building is still on fire and will likely burn all day long.

Officials said a janitor discovered the fire in the kitchen and called 911 around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

The roof of the main building collapsed just a few hours later around 2 p.m.

Firefighters said there were three propane tanks next to the building. They are watering them down, but if they catch fire it would cause a big explosion.

More than 50 firefighters rushed to put out the massive fire. Crews tell us the fire may have been caused by an electric appliance, but the investigation is still ongoing.

Inside the building were classrooms, the kitchen, the bookstore and offices. Computers in those offices contain every student's information.

"This will slow us down for months, but it won't effect our students education," said University President, John Bassett.

Bassett says they do back up student information. Every file is saved in a building untouched by the flames.

Bassett said, "The emotions are more, 'this is bad but now what do we need to do to recover?'"

A recovery that starts as soon as the flames go out.

Crews say the fire is now burning under the floorboards. Flames and smoke are still visible. They said the fire could burn well into the week.

This is a developing story. Stay with Action News, KIMATV.com, Facebook & Twitter for the latest.
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