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Fires set at Imai and Springer schools on back-to-back nights

Police believe both fires were intentionally lit

A fire was set on a basketball court at Springer Elementary School this month. The school is located at 1120 Rose Ave. in Mountain View. Photo by Zoe Morgan

Fires have been reported at two local elementary schools in recent weeks and police believe both were intentionally set.

The first was at Amy Imai Elementary School on Wednesday, Jan. 12, and the second was at Springer Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 13. Both schools are located in the city of Mountain View, though Springer is part of the Los Altos School District. No one injuries have been reported from either fire.

On the evening of Jan. 12, a fire was set near the multi-use room at Amy Imai Elementary School in Mountain View, according to an email Principal Arline Siam sent to families. A "concerned citizen" noticed smoke and called 911. According to Siam, the fire is believed to have been deliberately set because the suspects "had time to turn off the water supply and drain the sprinkler system."

"We were very fortunate that the fire department was able to get here quickly and that there was not any significant damage and that no one was hurt in the incident," Siam wrote. "My top priority is to make sure that all of our entire Imai family community feels safe."

The next night, a community member reported a fire at Springer school, Los Altos Superintendent Jeff Baier said in an interview. A small fire had been set on the basketball court, damaging the asphalt. A portable classroom's window was also broken, which followed another classroom window having been broken the previous weekend. Nothing was taken from the classrooms, Baier said.

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Officers with the Los Altos Police Department stopped two juveniles who were riding their bikes away from the Springer fire on Jan. 13 and Mountain View police took custody of the suspects, Los Altos Sgt. Ryan Burke said.

Mountain View Police Department Spokesperson Katie Nelson said that two minors were "identified and cited" in connection with the fire at Imai Elementary School, but did not answer follow-up questions from this news organization about whether the suspects in the Imai and Springer fires are the same.

Nelson said she couldn't confirm whether both fires have the same suspects because investigators are still working on the cases.

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Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

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Fires set at Imai and Springer schools on back-to-back nights

Police believe both fires were intentionally lit

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 26, 2022, 12:43 pm

Fires have been reported at two local elementary schools in recent weeks and police believe both were intentionally set.

The first was at Amy Imai Elementary School on Wednesday, Jan. 12, and the second was at Springer Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 13. Both schools are located in the city of Mountain View, though Springer is part of the Los Altos School District. No one injuries have been reported from either fire.

On the evening of Jan. 12, a fire was set near the multi-use room at Amy Imai Elementary School in Mountain View, according to an email Principal Arline Siam sent to families. A "concerned citizen" noticed smoke and called 911. According to Siam, the fire is believed to have been deliberately set because the suspects "had time to turn off the water supply and drain the sprinkler system."

"We were very fortunate that the fire department was able to get here quickly and that there was not any significant damage and that no one was hurt in the incident," Siam wrote. "My top priority is to make sure that all of our entire Imai family community feels safe."

The next night, a community member reported a fire at Springer school, Los Altos Superintendent Jeff Baier said in an interview. A small fire had been set on the basketball court, damaging the asphalt. A portable classroom's window was also broken, which followed another classroom window having been broken the previous weekend. Nothing was taken from the classrooms, Baier said.

Officers with the Los Altos Police Department stopped two juveniles who were riding their bikes away from the Springer fire on Jan. 13 and Mountain View police took custody of the suspects, Los Altos Sgt. Ryan Burke said.

Mountain View Police Department Spokesperson Katie Nelson said that two minors were "identified and cited" in connection with the fire at Imai Elementary School, but did not answer follow-up questions from this news organization about whether the suspects in the Imai and Springer fires are the same.

Nelson said she couldn't confirm whether both fires have the same suspects because investigators are still working on the cases.

Comments

Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 26, 2022 at 2:59 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 26, 2022 at 2:59 pm

A bit disconcerting that the MVWSD maintenance staff has not secured (chained and locked) the valves for the fire sprinklers. wow

Since the new MURs are all new construction, MVWSD was 'required' to install fire sprinklers in these buildings. But, if defeated, those sprinklers do no good. [i.e. taxpayer bond funds wasted / students and instruction disrupted]. Stevenson, Castro, Vargas all are also 'new construction' and have fire sprinklers (and valves outside). Ditto for MURs at Landels and Bubb.

--- "A 'concerned citizen' noticed" / and "a community member reported"
--- please, concerned citizens and community members (& parents & staff) check those school fire-sprinker outside valves for locking! Photo & Report any suspicions to the MV FIRE DEPARTMENT. School inspection IS their job.
Fire Marshals (650). 903-6378, 903-6820


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