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UPDATE: Fire at Dormont Elementary

A fire broke out Friday evening at the Dormont Elementary School playground.

A fire that broke out Friday evening at Dormont Elementary School is under investigation.

According to the Dormont Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page, the fire department responded to a large fire at the Dormont Elementary School playground around 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, and were able to contain and extinguish the flames before they spread to the building.

Keystone Oaks communications director Jim Cromie was on scene as of 8:20 p.m. Friday night. Cromie said an arson unit was on scene looking at the damage, and that Superintendent William Stropkaj was on his way to the school to talk to employees and emergency personnel.

"We’re just going to go from here," Cromie said. "We’re not totally sure what happened at this point, but the fire department is investigating."

Cromie said there were teachers and other employees in the building when the fire broke out, and that a custodian saw smoke and called the fire department. He said without the actions of those in the building, the situation could have been worse.

Heavy damage to the playground area was reported.

Fire departments from Mt. Lebanon and Scott Township assisted.

Dormont-Brookline Patch is working to get details about this incident. Continue to follow Dormont-Brookline Patch as details become available.


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Erin Faulk December 01, 2012 at 01:31 AM
This article has been updated to include comments from the school district's PR director.
Dean Beattie December 01, 2012 at 01:55 AM
That's truly ignorant if this was done on purpose.
Janice Hamilton December 01, 2012 at 03:06 AM
This is just horrible! We could see the flames from our house and it was a scary scene. Thank goodness no one was injured.
Bob Dobbs December 01, 2012 at 04:35 AM
im no arson expert but appears from these photos that gasoline or etc. was thrown onto ground and lit .. ?
Dean Beattie December 01, 2012 at 05:37 AM
I really hope that whom ever is responsible for this is caught and punished severely. What a senseless act of vandalism. When these people are caught and convicted, part of their sentence should be public humiliation like that woman in Colorado that was caught driving on the sidewalk to avoid waiting behind a school bus. Slap a big ole sign on these tools, make them wear bright pink jump suits with an arrow drawn on the chest pointing up to their heads with the words "I'm with Stupid" on them. Why are people such trash?
Kristen Pauchnik December 01, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I say lock them in the school gym with the 300+ kids of Dormont Elem. and we'll see what happens. I know my 2nd grader has a few choice words for them.
becca louise December 01, 2012 at 05:18 PM
maybe these people didn't intentionally do this. maybe they thought the fire wouldn't have been so big.
becca louise December 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM
what does your 2nd grader wanna say these people. i mean seriously it was probably just an accident.
Daniele Ventresca December 01, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Whether they thought the fire would be big or not has no place in this discussion. Setting a fire in this location put people and the building at risk (not to mention the significant damage it did to the only outdoor play area at the school). I hope the individual(s) who are responsible for this crime are caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Mary Ellen MacPherson December 01, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Whatever the intent of the fire-starter (metal does not accidentally burn), the ones who suffer from this destruction are the innocent children who attend Dormont Elementary School. They ran like the wind at recess to climb the slides and monkey bars of the fantastic playground provided by the generosity of the Dormont PFO.
Jason D Flaherty December 01, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Why would you say "may be they didnt intentionally do this"? They accidentally set the park ablaze? First thing I did was ask my son if he knew who did it! Kids talk!!! Becca you know something the police don't?
becca louise December 01, 2012 at 08:15 PM
no i don't and even if i did i wouldnt tell u.
T&B T December 01, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I ride my bike around dormont and usually I ride around the back of dormont elementary during non school hours. Because I move quickly on my bike I have arrived behind that building at least a few times and there have been young folks congregating there and when I roll past they seem surprised that someone has come upon them. I have always thought they should at least mount fake security cameras high on the walls and put signs that the place is under video surveillance. That might help. Additionally if more parents were RAISING their kids properly this kind of crap would not happen too often.
j December 02, 2012 at 03:55 AM
I agree with you T&B T. I drove down Potomac today and all these teenagers were standing outside just being young and silly. Where in the world are their parents and why do these kids not have a curfew? And yes we need security cameras on establishments our children attend.
Dean Beattie December 02, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Well, Becca Louise, if they didn't think the fire would be so big, they did intentionally start a fire of some sort. Which is just a dumb thing to do. Are you seriously trying to justify their stupidity? Come on, now. This was intentionally done. Mostly likely by some punk ass kid. There is no way this was accidental. Mr, Flaherty is right, kids talk and it is only a matter of time before they are caught. Mary Ellen is also correct in her statement that the ones that suffer are those that use the play ground for fun, the children. What a shame. The responsible party(s) of this act of vandalism are under the age of 18 they should be punished, like I said above, by public humiliation for at least a week and their parents should have to pay for the damages. If they are over 18, they to should be publicly humiliated and have to pay for the damages themselves. This is most likely a case of dumb kids being dumb kids because their parents didn't beat their asses when they were younger.
Jason D Flaherty December 02, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Defending the kids on Potomac ( my ex allowed my son there) I also ran the street with my friends mostly up to know good but I can tell you it all started when the borough took away the places we congregated. Like Kelton and Hillsdale! We are a borough that has absolutely nothing or nowhere for the kids to hang out. We played basketball among other sports at night at those 2 places and you know what the parents and police knew where everybody was . Maybe open the gym at the local municipal building to the public for free! The kids hanging out has become a police issue and people like you don't see it as a borough issue... I allowed many of those kids in my house all last winter and guess what ? Broken homes, nobody to talk to and the other thing we would feed many and I say many kids every weekend... Close you mouth open you eyes !!!
Erin Faulk December 02, 2012 at 09:51 PM
To "Some Kid," both of your comments were deleted because they violate Patch Terms of Use. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at erin.faulk@patch.com. Thanks.
Allegheny County Police December 02, 2012 at 11:55 PM
The Allegheny County Police and the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating this fire. If you have information regarding the person or persons responsible, please contact our annonomous tip line at 412-473-2776. Thank you in advance for your help!
Bob Dobbs December 03, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Good point , Jason ... the cops want to chase the kids away from anywhere they hang ... this is going to back-fire, periodically, methinks . They stifled the skate-park ...
DSA December 03, 2012 at 01:54 PM
there are plenty of things to do in Dormont and around Dormont. being bored is no reason to start fires, jason.
David Van December 22, 2012 at 02:31 AM
"annonomous" ?

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