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3-Alarm Fire Rages At El Monte High School

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EL MONTE (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of Los Angeles County firefighters extinguished a cafeteria fire at an El Monte high school Monday before flames could spread to other parts of the campus.

The blaze was reported shortly before 2:30 a.m. at Mountain View High School at Parkway Drive and Dahlia Avenue, according to Los Angeles County fire officials.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports by 4:00 a.m., 75 firefighters were on the scene, spraying water on the cafeteria from the roofs of adjacent buildings on campus.

Minutes later, a third alarm was declared, and as many as 150 firefighters were dispatched to defend the rest of the school’s structures.

The blaze was extinguished around 6:30 a.m., but crews remained on scene to prevent any flare-ups.

One firefighter suffered a minor back injury but was not transported to a hospital for treatment, officials said.

“I want to publicly thank the LA County Fire Department for all their hard work in preventing this from being a further catastrophe for us,” Superintendent Nick Salerno said.

Students were seen watching firefighters battle the blaze early this morning, and some were hit hard after watching their cafeteria burn to the ground.

“It’s just devastating,” said one student. “This is my school, I’m here five days a week.”

Fencing and other safety measures will be in place so classes can resume Tuesday, school officials said.

“I can tell you that the first responding fire companies reported that the bulk of the fire activity was contained to the attic area,” Inspector Tony Imbrenda said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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