Fire breaks out in high school on heels of school threat

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MESQUITE, Nev. — Fire crews responded to a fire late Tuesday night at a Mesquite high school – the same high school that had allegedly received a social media threat Sunday in which six juveniles were reportedly charged for their involvement in the incident.

Mesquite Fire and Rescue responded to Virgin Valley High School at approximately 9:12 p.m. Tuesday, Fire Chief Kash Christopher said in a media statement Wednesday.

Initial arriving units found the school’s fire alarm panel showing smoke and water flow alarms in the school gym, Christopher said. School staff that had arrived at the scene reported that there was smoke in the gym.

“With such a large structure and six personnel,” Christopher said, “mutual aid was immediately requested from Beaver Dam and Bunkerville Fire departments.”

The initial firefighter entry team found a pile of rags smoldering in a janitor’s closet.

There was no reported fire damage to the building as the fire had been “held in check by the building’s properly-operating fire sprinklers,” Christopher said.

Fire crews were able to quickly remove the smoldering material and stop the flow of water to limit the damage to the building. Maintenance staff were then able to utilize existing floor cleaners to remove the standing water from the gym and locker room areas of the school.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Christopher said.

In a strange coincidence, the Clark County School District’s Board of School Trustees, in a 6-1 vote, approved a proposal Wednesday that includes $8 million for a second gym at the high school, as well as an additional $1 million for renovations to the bleachers at the Bulldogs’ football stadium.

The Virgin Valley school is Mesquite’s only high school.

The high school garnered media attention earlier this week after the Mesquite Police Department was made aware of a threat made via social media regarding students attending Virgin Valley High School, Mesquite Police said Monday.

Authorities said although the incident stemmed from an alleged dare and posed no actual threat of harm, they are not taking the incident lightly.

“Due to the seriousness of making such threats to our schools and the fear it could have caused,” police said Monday, “one juvenile suspect was taken into custody.”

One juvenile male suspect from Mesquite was arrested and charged with one gross misdemeanor count of threatening to cause bodily harm or death to a pupil or school employee by means of oral, written or electronic communication.

The juvenile was transported and booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.

Five other juvenile suspects were cited on a lesser misdemeanor criminal charge and released into the custody of their parents. The five other juvenile suspects were each individually charged with one misdemeanor count of threatening to cause bodily harm or death to a pupil or school employee by means of oral, written or electronic communication.

The names of those involved were not released due to their juvenile status.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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