SJ fire station gives back to burned school

August 4, 2010 12:16:32 PM PDT
The San Jose fire station that responded to a devastating fire at Trace Elementary School last month, is going beyond the call of duty to help the kids there. Arson investigators are still trying to find out who set the fire that caused $10 million damage. The community has kicked in thousands of dollars to rebuild.

Fire Station 7 was the first to respond to that devastating fire and now one month later it's helping lift school spirits as they rebuild.

More than 100 firefighters struggled for hours to put out the raging 5-alarm fire at Trace Elementary. The July 5 arson fire gutted parts of the San Jose school. Now, concrete columns mark where a building once stood. But amongst all the rubble, firefighters made an amazing discovery that they're giving back to Trace.

"While we were digging around trying to put the fire out, we found this American flag that was rolled up and for us it was almost a small miracle amidst all the destruction, and we have such a huge appreciation for teachers and educators, we just wanted to do this special thing for them," said San Jose Fire Capt. Jason Suarez.

During a special community gathering at Station 7, the San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation also presented a $5,000 donation to Trace to help rebuild and resupply the school. The district superintendent calls firefighters' actions a double-gift.

"They put out the fire and now they've come together to raise money for the school to help with the rebuilding effort and to help us get back in the school on August 16. Which is amazing to watch this kind of thing happen," said SJ Unified School District Supt. Dr. Vincent Matthews.

When the first school bell rings August 16, Trace's 1,000 K through 5th grade students will have a place to go with the help of new portable classrooms.

"We're moving fast. Getting everything done as quick as possible. We are on schedule, and we will have this school open for those kids on that day," said TBI Construction Supervisor Derek Allen.

Trace school officials say they're grateful for all the donations that have been coming in. They do expect it will take up to two years to rebuild.

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