Explosion at Timber Creek High prompts arson investigation, deputies say

Deputies: 14-year-old student charged

By Brianna Volz - Web producer

AVALON PARK, Fla. - Crews were called to Timber Creek High School Saturday morning after an explosion in one of the school's bathrooms, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said a staff member reported hearing a loud noise and seeing smoke and fluid coming from the first-floor bathroom in one of the buildings at the school, which is located at 1001 S. Avalon Park Blvd., around 10:22 a.m.

[LISTEN BELOW: Principal of Timber Creek High School issues calls to parents after explosion]

Witnesses also reported seeing someone run into the bathroom and back out at the same time the explosion took place, deputies said. Authorities said witnesses told them the incident was caught on video, but investigators are not immediately releasing any footage.

Sprinklers were activated and the fire was put out around 10:55 a.m., according to Fire Rescue officials. 

Students from multiple schools were inside at the time participating in a debate tournament, according to the Sheriff's Office. Saturday school was also being held on campus. 

The school was evacuated while multiple agencies responded to search the area, deputies said.

Parents received two calls from the school's principal shortly after the incident notifying them of the explosion and evacuation. Listen to the full calls below.

Authorities said investigators detained, questioned and later arrested a 14-year-old boy. He was charged with arson in the first (a felony), and two additional misdemeanor offenses, and is a student at the school.

Photo: News 6 photojournalist Tee Taylor

The explosion comes one day after school officials said a student lit a firecracker during dismissal time.

"Please know that we take this very seriously and such behavior will not be tolerated," Timber Creek High officials said Friday in a Facebook post. "The student responsible will be facing serious consequences. Please help remind your children that that one bad decision can change their entire lives."

The incident also comes after a week of threats made toward Orlando-area schools following the school shooting that took place in South Florida last Wednesday.

Deputies said Saturday afternoon that investigators are being hypersensitive to the incident at Timber Creek in light of recent events taking place across several area schools.

Authorities have addressed the pattern of threats, saying students will face consequences for using law enforcement resources during a time when they aren't needed.

No one was hurt, school district officials said.

Photo: News 6 photojournalist Tee Taylor

The extent of the damage caused by the fire is unknown, according to school officials. 

Deputies said the State Fire Marshal is investigated the incident as a case of arson.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates.

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