‘This is just too much’: Community wonders what’s next as the Almira School burns

ALMIRA, Wash.– The Almira School burned for hours Tuesday night– destroying the history it held in its hall and memories made there.

Volunteer Fire Chief Denny Pinar has been fighting fires for 25 years. He said this is the worst fire he’s ever seen in the district.

“It’s bad. But it’s worse I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t help it. We tried, and our great crew that we have here, we did as much as we could. But it stinks that, it sucks we couldn’t do it,” Pinar said,

Six generations of his family have gone to school there, including his kids now.

He wasn’t the only one who lost part of their history in the fire. Kari McKay watched her school burn down. With it were all the memories both her and her dad made there.

That includes their graduation photos. There were hundreds of class graduation pictures in the school and now they’re all gone.

“I don’t know where they go from here,” McKay said.

All of this happening while the pandemic grips the nation was hard for some neighbors to swallow.

“Horrifying. Especially after everything we’ve been through in the pandemic and going back and forth between being at home then hybrid then being in school it’s heartbreaking for her, and just all of the students, in general, this is just too much,” Jennifer Schwartz said.

The building is a total loss. Now, the Almira families are figuring out what to do next.

“I don’t know how we’re going to bounce back. It’s going to take a long time to bounce back. Financially, I don’t know if it’s possible,” Pinar said.

Whatever happens, the community will do it together and try to move on.

The fire started at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office said there was nobody in the building when the fire broke out.

The students were not in class because of electrical issues. Pinar said when the power came back on it was tested and there were reports of an electrical smell. However, the cause of the fire has not been determined.

MORE: ‘It’s bad’: Volunteer fire chief calls Almira School fire the worst he’s seen