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2-alarm fire closes Baker Elementary School in Henrico

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County Public Schools have announced that Baker Elementary School will be closed for students and staff Monday and Tuesday after a two-alarm fire broke out in the building Sunday morning.

The fire occurred just before 8 a.m. at the school building in the 6600 block of Wilson Road. The first firefighters arrived within two minutes of the call and found black smoke coming from the roof of the school.

Personnel immediately went to work to locate the fire within the building. Because of the amount of smoke and concerns that the fire would spread throughout the school, a second alarm was called, and a dozen additional firefighters responded.

The fire was brought under control within an hour and no injuries were reported to citizens or firefighters. Several fans were used to remove the smoke, which traveled throughout the majority of the building.

Firefighters had to use ladder trucks to remove sections of the upper decorative wall sections to check for extension to the roof, while other personnel used saws to open portions of the roof to better access damage and check for hidden fire.

Henrico school officials were on scene inspecting the damage for hours, and eventually decided to close the building for at least two days due to roof, water and smoke damage.

"Smoke can penetrate those surfaces and just create an uncomfortable environment to be in, we know there's damage to some rooms--don't believe there's classrooms right now, but some rooms have some damage to them," said Captain Taylor Goodman with Henrico Fire & EMS.

David Ray and his son Gabryel live right across the street from the school.

"We just got back in town, and to come home to this...” Ray said. "My son goes to Baker Elementary. I coach basketball there, little league basketball."

Ray said he was shocked to learn about the fire at school. Now, his son will be one of about 450 students who won't be able to go to school Monday or Tuesday.

"Then I gotta figure out when I'm going to be able to work so my son can go to school. If he ain't at school, I can't work," Ray said.

School officials say staff members will receive additional instructions from the school's principal, Dr. Hardy in the next coming days. Henrico County Public Schools are continuing to evaluate all available options, including the temporary usage of nearby school facilities.

A team has been meeting since early Sunday morning to develop plans and make arrangements for the Baker Elementary School community.

A meeting for families of students who attend the school has been scheduled for Monday night at 6 p.m. in the Varina High School auditorium. That is when officials will share plans and answer questions. Those who cannot attend the meeting can receive updates via email, voicemail or on the school district's website.

The Henrico Fire Marshals Office said the blaze was caused by an electrical problem and was deemed accidental.

Stay with and watch CBS 6 News for continuing coverage of this important local story.