Investigators unable to rule out arson as cause of Chicago school fire

A fire tore through a Northwest Side elementary school's auditorium Tuesday, forcing students to take classes somewhere else.

Now, investigators say they haven't been able to prove the fire isn't arson.

Investigators began working immediately after the flames were put out, but so far have not been able to rule arson out as a reason for the fire beginning.

The school is closed in the interim, and CPS is sending kids to other schools.

“I was really worried about my school,” said 4th grader Lauren Haddad, who watched as the fire burned. “It was crazy. (The flames) were huge, coming out of the window,” she said.

“I was so scared, to be honest with you. We were concerned about the whole school,” said parent Nabeela Azar.

And hours after the flames were extinguished, daylight the next day showed boarded windows and charred debris thrown into a dumpster.

Investigators are still no closer to determining whether the fire was started by accident or the result of arson.

“I don't believe that somebody would hurt kids in the school or want to destroy our school,” Azar said.

Smoke damage inside the school is widespread enough that students were sent to Taft High School for classes on Wednesday.

A message on the school’s website tells parents their kids will go to Norwood Park Elementary for classes on Thursday.

“What's going to happen? Am I never going to go there ever again? Who did it?” Haddad asked.

There were no injuries from the fire, and CPS says they're working to re-open the school as soon as possible.