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Fire breaks out at vacant Peeler Elementary School, damaged in 2018 tornado

Fire officials said there is extensive fire damage inside the school.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro firefighters were called to a fire at Peeler Elementary School Thursday afternoon. 

The fire was reported sometime after 12 p.m. at the vacant school on Randall Street. 

Fire officials said smoke was coming through the roof at one point. The fire is now under control. 

Officials said the fire started in the library, but a cause hasn't been determined. The fire was contained to that room only, but the damage was extensive. 

"It’s a vacant structure we arrive to find heavy smoke showing from the building. We actually have about 70 firefighters here. The situation is under control, the fire is under investigation," said Greensboro Fire Chief Jim Robinson.

Peeler Elementary hasn't been in operation since it was damaged during the April 2018 tornado. It was one of three schools damaged by the tornados, along with Erwin Montessori and Hampton Elementary Schools. 

Peeler Elementary was also damaged in 2020 by vandals. Someone smashed the windows in and maintenance crews had to board up the windows during the investigation. 

Guilford County Schools said it plans to speed up its plan to demolish Peeler Elementary. The plan was to demolish the school in 2022, but now that there's extensive damage from the fire, the district wants to get it done in the next few weeks. 

"We want to make sure the site is safe," said Guilford County Schools Chief Operations Officer Michelle Reed.

GCS wants to level the building and clear the land, so a new school can be built on the grounds. 

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