Pearl City School Fire Shocks Students, Teachers

PEARL CITY (KHNL) - A school community in shock Friday after a late-night fire burned several classrooms. It happened at Highlands Intermediate School on Hoolaulea Street in Pearl City.

This is all that's left of a portable classroom. In all, five were damaged, including a computer lab. Flames were so intense, one structure burned to the ground. Val Okimoto looks on in disbelief. Her classroom was damaged.

"I didn't expect it to be that bad," said Val Okimoto, a 7th grade teacher at the school. "I was in shock."

She said teachers and students can't believe what happened.

"It seems like it's a shock to the whole campus," said Okimoto. "It's kind of sad because it prevented me from being able to get to my supplies and teaching."

School principal Amy Martinson has been busy finding space for her displaced students. She has mixed emotions about the fire.

"I was really glad that no one was hurt," she said. "But then I was sad because our students take so much pride in their school."

Fire officials say it will take a while to determine what caused this.

The school will march forward.

"The kids are really resilient and I feel bad for the for the teacher whose room is gone but the school is supportive and we all support each other here," said Okimoto. "So, I think that'll strengthen us."

Finding the strength to move forward after the first campus fire in the school's history.

Two of the affected classrooms will relocate to the library for the remainder of the school year. A third will use the school cafeteria.