Fire set in Yonkers high school main office believed to be arson

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- Students returned to class Tuesday at a high school in Westchester County that was damaged by fire, while the investigation continues into what police believe was an intentional act.

The flames broke out in the main office of Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers on Saturday, causing extensive damage. Sprinklers limited the spread of flames, but nevertheless, the district was forced to cancel classes Monday.

"I'm angry," principal Steven Mazzola said. "I spend a lot of time here. I've been here a long time. Schools are supposed to be safe zones. And for somebody to come in and do something like this is upsetting."

Officials say it appears someone forced their way into the building via a ground-floor window early Saturday morning. Nothing was stolen, and it's unclear whether the arson was an extreme form of mischief or something more sinister. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano described the impacted area as the nerve center of the school, where data and communications lines come in.

"That's why it has me a little concerned, that somebody would do something like that," he said. "They almost know exactly where to attack."

Extensive work to repair cables is going on across the street, and it's not known how long the school's computers, intercom, and even fire alarms will be out of service.

"They're crazy, out of their minds," parent Clara Khoury said. "I mean, I don't know who would do something like that."

Meantime, administrators scrambled to to reconfigure drop-off and dismissal for the school's 1,200 students.
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