Water service returned and classes resumed Tuesday at Heritage University, but fire investigators still can’t get close enough to the still-burning Petrie Hall determine a cause of the blaze, which started Sunday afternoon and destroyed Heritage’s original building.
Yakima County Fire District 5 sent four firefighters back to the campus Tuesday afternoon to fight a flare-up caused by a collapsed floor that let oxygen into the previously unburned furnace room.
“One of the walls fell right by the furnace room,” said Kevin Frazier, deputy chief.
Firefighters had left Monday, believing the fire to be safely contained despite the fact that other structures sit about 20 feet away.
A cause remains undetermined because the smoldering heat stymied the efforts of Ron Rutherford, deputy Yakima County Fire marshal, who was trying to search for clues.
“I’m going to let it cool for a couple of days,” Rutherford said.
Meanwhile, campus facilities crews repaired a damaged water main allowing university officials to resume a normal summer class schedule Tuesday, said Bonnie Hughes, a university spokeswoman. School officials had dismissed classes at noon Monday.
The school still lacks phone and internet service, though Hughes has been posting updates on the university’s Facebook page.
Sunday’s fire caused no injuries but fire officials estimate damage at $2.8 million.
The blaze destroyed Petrie Hall, a 1926 building that housed computer servers, six classrooms and a cafeteria. The former elementary school was the university’s first building when it was founded in 1982.