Christmas Tree Catches Fire at Elementary School

Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013  |  Updated 1:49 PM EDT
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Phyllis Salmon

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A Christmas caught fire in an elementary school classroom before classes started on Tuesday.

An assistant principal at Sweetwater Elementary School discovered the fire while making rounds before school started. Officials believe the tree caught fire shortly before the assistant principal spotted it.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports no students were injured, but eight classrooms were displaced by the fire.

"Fortunately it had not been burning for a long time," said Volusia County school district spokeswoman Nancy Wait.

The building houses classrooms for students in grades one through three. Students were sent to the media center for the day.

Wait says the fire didn't cause much damage and it did not damage the school's electrical system.

The fire was contained to one classroom, but there was smoke damage in all the classrooms in Building 3, Wait said.

Initial reports indicated that a tree had been left plugged in and it overheated. The newspaper reported that other trees found in nearby classrooms were plugged in but the lights were turned off.

"Investigators are trying to determine if that was the cases where the Christmas tree caught fire," Wait said.

A dispatchers' log shows the caller initially reported seeing whitish smoke in the building and said it smelled like "plastic and paper, possibly books," burning.

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