3-Alarm Fire Shuts Down Administration Building

By Leef Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 4, 2007

A fire swept through a Fairfax County school administration building in Annandale early yesterday, causing $1 million in damage and displacing 150 employees, fire officials said.

Investigators said the three-alarm fire started about 4:40 a.m. in the print shop of the Donald Lacey Instructional Center, which is at 3705 Crest Dr. and houses administrators and other employees in the school system's instructional services department. Children do not take classes in the building.

Officials said 90 emergency workers responded to the call and had the fire, which was largely contained in a one-story section of the L-shaped building, under control in about an hour. No one was injured.

Fire officials described the red-brick building as "uninhabitable until further notice" because of structural and electrical damage, including a partially collapsed roof. They said the cause of the fire is unknown.

School officials said the building, which once was an elementary school, is home to several programs, including middle and elementary school teacher instruction, English for Speakers of Other Languages, the Head Start Early Childhood program and a room for training.

Schools spokesman Paul Regnier said that the entire building will be closed until at least Thursday and that the grounds will remain off-limits. Any scheduled events, such as meetings or training sessions, are canceled until further notice.

"Right now, we're considering options for the immediate relocation of some offices," Regnier said. "We're hoping some can get back in relatively soon."

Employees are being asked to work from home tomorrow and meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the Jackson Middle School auditorium.

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