A Clearwater student is recovering in the Tampa General Hospital’s burn unit after being severely injured in a fire at High Point Elementary School.
The 8-year-old was burned on his shoulders, torso, hands, and arms before an EMS crew rushed him down a sidewalk to a nearby field.
The boy, who has not yet been identified, was rushed by a Bayflight Medical helicopter to the burn unit while administrators evacuated the rest of the students from the school. Alongside the boy, one other teacher received minor burns.
It is unclear what started the fire and details are scarce at this point.
“The fire alarm just went off and then we’re like, ‘what’s happening?’ We all just ran to the field over there,” said student Giovanni Ortiz to WFLA reporters.
It seemed students weren’t the only ones confused with the events. Parents started arriving at the school shortly after the burned student was airlifted away to see fire crews at the school but received no further information.
“Oh my God. My heart sank, and I really wanted to cry,” said parent, Sandi Lawson to WFLA reporters.
Counselors will be at the school in the morning for any students or faculty who need to talk about the incident. Largo Fire Rescue and the Clearwater school district police are investigating.
High Point Elementary School Principal, Michael Feeney, sent out a message to parents.
“Hello, this is Mr. Feeney, principal at High Point Elementary. I am calling to inform you that our school was evacuated this afternoon after a student was injured at school today and taken to the hospital. The school was evacuated to keep all students safe while the incident was addressed. All students followed the proper procedures for an evacuation and dismissal was delayed by 15 minutes. There were many first responders on our campus. If your child has questions about what happened at school today, please tell them there was an emergency and we needed assistance from police and fire rescue. We have support available from our social workers and school counselors if you feel your child needs additional support. Please contact our office during regular school hours if your child needs additional support. Thank you.”
*The telephone message is from WFLA news.