Pocatello’s Highland High goes up in flames

Updated: 1:50 p.m. This is a developing story; check back for updates. 

POCATELLO — Highland High School erupted in flames early Friday morning. Firefighters battled the blaze through the early hours and were able to contain the fire by 9 a.m.

There were no reports of injuries, but the school’s cafeteria and gym were gutted, according to the Idaho State Journal. 

The school’s D-wing was primarily impacted, while its other wings suffered smoke and water damage. 

Classes at Highland were canceled for Friday and Monday. Classes will be held virtually on Tuesday through Friday, according to a press release from the district. 

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. 

District officials planned to meet with Highland’s administration and staff on Friday “to address short-term plans moving forward,” according to a press release.

“The safety and well-being of our learners and staff is our highest priority,” said Courtney Fisher, the district’s spokesperson. “This situation is going to require patience and stamina as we work together as a community to continue to serve Highland learners and staff in the best way possible.”

Resuming in-person learning as soon as possible will continue to be a high priority, according to the district. Officials will make a decision on a return to the building based on safety.

Fisher said the district was grateful for the “outpouring of support and goodwill that we have received both locally and across the state,” including from Gov. Brad Little and State Superintendent Debbie Critchfield.

“My heart goes out to the Pocatello community and our Highland High School students and faculty after the devastating fire at their school,” Critchfield said in a statement. “This loss is about more than just facilities.”

A screenshot of a tweet from Gov. Little.

Highland’s prom, which was scheduled for Saturday, will now be held at Idaho State University. 

Mid-term grade posting and the Idaho Standards Achievement Tests were temporarily postponed, and the district was working with its insurance company to replace personal property damaged by the fire. 

District officials are also working with state and federal food service programs to discuss how to distribute meals going forward. 

There is currently no need for fundraising. However, if patrons would like to make donations, the district encourages them to do so through the School District 25 Education Foundation and the Highland High School Foundation. 

Fisher said the district would continue to keep Highland families updated as more details are confirmed.

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Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro reports from her hometown of Pocatello. Prior to joining EdNews, she taught English at Century High and was a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She has won state and regional journalism awards, and her work has appeared in newspapers throughout the West. Flandro has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and Spanish from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in English from Idaho State University. You can email her at [email protected] or call or text her at (208) 317-4287.

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