Tracy Fire Department Capt. Mike Oliveri said the fire department received the call of a fire at the one-room school house at the east edge of the park at 8:11 p.m.
Oliveri said the first crews arriving on scene could see a column of smoke rising from behind the school.
Crews found a fire along the wall on the northwest corner of the school house burning up along a window and wooden shutters.
Oliveri said the flames reached nearly 12-feet high along the wall as firefighters began to fight the fire.
The fire burned through the window flooding the schoolhouse with smoke.
Firefighters forced the doors of the school open and moved the vintage desks and other items away from the wall as crews brought the fire under control.
The fire was put out within 10 minutes Oliveri said and crews removed a large section wall and poke holes in the ceiling to check if the fire spread into the space between the walls and ceiling.
The schoolhouse fire was the second fire at Clyde Bland Park on Thursday. Oliveri said firefighters responded to a grass fire in the park along the sound wall of Interstate 205 at 6:30 p.m. The small patch of grass burned about 60 yards north of the school.
In a press release issued Friday from the city manager’s office, public works superintendent Robert Gravelle said the city has been experiencing a rash of vandalism in the area.
The building suffered moderate fire damage including smoke damage to the interior of the schoolhouse. The press estimated the cost of the fire damage at $35,000.
Oliveri said the fire department considers the fire suspicious as it started on the cement that ringed the schoolhouse. An arson investigator was on scene Thursday night looking for evidence in the charred remains.
The schoolhouse was brought to the park in 2001 and used for a Pioneer Days program to give Tracy Unified School District third grade students a glimpse of school life from the 1870’s. The press release stated the program has been suspended until further notice.
As of Thursday night Tracy code enforcement officers were called to survey the damage to the building and public works department crews were going to board up the door and burned out section of wall.
Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org