DC Fire and EMS says the 3-alarm fire at the Takoma Educational Center on Wednesday was accidental and caused by the improper use of a torch.
One firefighter was injured but no one else was hurt, says DC Fire.
First units arrived to find heavy fire on the second and third floors of the school, and fire coming through the roof.
No students were in the school because if was closed for the holidays.
DC Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said damage will be heavy.
Piringer said a second alarm was dispatched because of the size of the school, and the call for third alarm was precautionary. Units responding to the third alarm staged nearby.
Piringer also said it looked like renovation work was being done in the area of the fire.
Neighbors say this was a school on the rebound with a dynamic principal and a lot of hard working teachers.
Nancy Smith says she’s very concerned about how the damage will set back the progress of the students.
Councilmember Murial Bowser says they’ll have to find a good temporary home for the students.