The Saddlebrook Prepatory School hosts teens from around the world.
They come to the Wesley Chapel resort to study and train with hopes of becoming professionals in their sport.
“It’s education, it’s golf, it’s tennis, it’s the full package for these students,” said Saddlebrook Resort General Manager Pat Ciaccio.
Thankfully, the students also learn fire safety.
And it turned out to be a life saving lesson.
The fire started early Thursday morning in one of the units in a building where 28 students lived.
One of the students smelled smoke and alerted everyone else.
“We practice those fire drills monthly. We take it very seriously. Our security department is involved. They are all first responders,” said Ciaccio.
Pasco Fire Rescue crews quickly realized they were going need more help.
It took more than 50 firefighters to put the fire out.
“When they pulled up and saw flames shooting through the roof. They immediately upgraded the call to a full assignment,” said Training Chief Shawn Whited.
The students seemed to handle everything just fine. They were relocated to a different building and back in bed in about an hour.
“The first question when I did get the students together was do we still have to take exams today? The answer to that question was your head master will be here soon and he’ll let you know,” said Ciaccio.
The fire gutted four units and damaged several others.
But no injuries to students or firefighters.
Saddlebrook officials said they’ll rebuild and have the rooms ready when school starts again in the fall.