NewsPinellas County


Clearwater student burned himself with a lighter at school

Student burned in school fire, taken to hospital
Student burned in school fire, taken to hospital
Posted at 3:47 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 17:24:54-05

A Pinellas County student was transported to the hospital after being injured in a fire Wednesday afternoon. School officials have confirmed the student was in possession of a lighter at the time of the incident. 

The Principal of High Point Elementary sent out the following message to parents on Thursday: 

Hello, this is Mike Feeney, principal of High Point Elementary. As you may have heard, a High Point student was injured on campus yesterday afternoon. The student was burned while in possession of a lighter. This was an isolated incident involving one student and was not part of a classroom activity. A counseling team visited classrooms to provide students with information and support following yesterday’s incident. We will continue to have a support team available to all students, staff and families, as long as needed. Information on how to speak with your student will be sent home today. If you feel your child needs to speak with a counselor, please call our front office. The well-being of students is our priority. Thank you.

School district leaders say lighters are not allowed on school campuses and they're working with parents to make sure kids don't bring them onto campus. 

Angelia, a grandmother of a child at the school, didn't want to provide her last name but says it's concerning to her. “My granddaughters go to school here I want to make sure they’re safe. I have a lot of questions. How did a kid bring a lighter to school? What happened? How come he was able to light that? Where was the supervision."

Initially, district leaders put out very little information about the incident. Later, district leaders said it was an isolated incident and they wanted to protect the child and his family. 

Angelina wishes she would have had more information sooner. “I think they’re in school, they’re safe and I don’t have to worry. Now I’m second thinking that.”

According to the Largo Fire Department, they received a call shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday regarding a structure fire at High Point Elementary School in Clearwater. On their way to the school they learned an 8 year old male student received a burn injury from the fire. 

The child is still being treated at Tampa General Hospital as of Thursday afternoon. 

School officials say the student burned himself while in possession of a lighter. They say it was an isolated incident involving one student and was not part of a classroom activity. 

"Immediately our heart goes out to the families that are here and we see a lot of these children, a lot of them walk by the house," said neighbor Pamela Sindlinger. 

On Wednesday, families received the following statement from the school.

Hello this is Mr. Feeney, principal at High Point Elementary. I am calling to inform you that our school was evacuated this afternoon after a student was injured at school today and taken to the hospital. The school was evacuated to keep all students safe while the incident was addressed. All students followed the proper procedures for an evacuation and dismissal was delayed by 15 minutes. There were many first responders on our campus. If your child has questions about what happened at school today, please tell them there was an emergency and we needed assistance from police and fire rescue. We have support available from our social workers and school counselors if you feel your child needs additional support. Please contact our office during regular school hours if your child needs additional support. Thank you.

No other injuries were reported and there was no damage to the school; which was evacuated.

The fire is being investigated by the Fire Marshall.