Vacant Houston School Burns


Firefighters battled a suspicious two-alarm fire at a closed northeast Houston elementary school Tuesday night.

Houston firefighters battled the flames at Tidwell Elementary School on Tidwell Road near North Wayside Drive at about 9:30 p.m.

The school belongs to the North Forest Independent School District, but it has not been used for anything but storage for the past two years.

There were heavy flames when firefighters first arrived at the scene.

"The first engine found three classrooms on fire," said J.C. Seamans of the Houston Fire Department. "They took command, they began fighting the fire, and shortly into the incident they found another fire. I believe they found four separate origin points, which pretty much points to the fact that it's arson."

Firefighters had to pry plywood off the school's windows to get to the flames.

"Very dangerous for firefighters," Seamans said. "There's nowhere to go if you get in trouble."

Seamans said it took about two hours to put the fire out.

In October 2008, firefighters battled another suspicious fire at Tidwell Elementary. That fire was contained to one room.

The school closed a few years ago and the students were moved to Hilliard Elementary School.

Lillian Davis has lived across the street from the school for 29 years. She said her daughter attended Tidwell Elementary. She said she pays her taxes, so she does not understand why the school sits empty.

"They can go through there and do whatever they want to do, I mean set a little fire, and do any kind of devil man," Davis said. "They can easily go in there because it's not patrolled regularly."

The cause of Tuesday's fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported.

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