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Investigators Closes Heritage Fire Case, Cause Unknown


We may never know what sparked the fire at Heritage University in Toppenish last month.  Investigators have ruled the fire undetermined and have closed the case. Even after pulling piece after piece from what was once Petrie Hall, there are still unanswered questions. Investigators know for sure that the fire started in the attic space above the kitchen. But exactly how the fire started we may never know.

Investigators tell our news partner KIMA Action News the fire on July 8th likely burned up any pinpointing evidence. However, this won’t affect an insurance payout. University spokesperson, Bonnie Hughes said the damage will be covered by insurance.

Heritage University is moving on. The school cleared land east of the main campus. This spot will be home to 11 new portables. Students should be able to use them within the first few weeks of school. The portables will include a fully-equipped kitchen and an attached cafeteria.

All students now have phone, email and internet service, but that was not always the case.

“It was pretty hectic we were unable to make appointments and schedule anything,” said student, Angel Hernandez.

Many teachers and administrators are still forced to go to other buildings for internet service.

Hughes says both staff and students have been flexible. And despite an open ending to a fiery beginning, all agree moving on is key.

“I think it would be nice to have closure but it is what it is,” said Angel.

The University President tells KIMA administrators are still determining when, where and what kind of new facility to build. They will likely opt for two buildings to replace Petrie Hall. One for IT and one for student services.

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