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Fire damages Highland High School

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - UPDATE 4:00 p.m.

RELEASE FROM POCATELLO/CHUBBUCK SCHOOL DISTRICT: Update on the structure fire at Highland High School.  The fire was reported today, April 21 at 3:57 a.m. 

A full response was dispatched to the fire. This entails 4 engines, 2 ambulances, and a battalion chief.

Chubbuck fire was requested and sent resources to aid in the suppression efforts.  Crews have been working diligently to suppress the fire. As of 12:37 today the fire was contained and crews are currently working to put out hot spots.  The fire has been contained to the D building which houses the cafeteria, main gym, band and choir rooms.   

There is some smoke and water damage to other portions of the building but no fire damage. No injuries have been reported.

We were made aware of some classroom pets that where in the school and we have worked with school officials to get them removed safely.

The investigation is on-going and is a joint effort between the Pocatello Fire Department, Pocatello Police Department, Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.  The investigation is expected to take several days to complete. 

We want to thank all the agencies who have reached out and offered assistance.  As well as several community organizations who have provided food and drink for our emergency responders.

We ask the community to avoid the area while the emergency responders continue to work the structure fire and conduct the fire investigation.  We are also asking people to avoid flying drones over the area during the investigation.  Fire officials will provide updates as the information becomes available.

UPDATE 12:45 p.m. The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 has released the following Friday afternoon:

Dear HHS school community—The following details have been confirmed to address the immediate needs of the learners and staff of Highland High School:

  • Saturday, April 22: The HHS prom will be held as scheduled from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Idaho State University Pond Student Union Ballroom. We appreciate the staff and administration of Idaho State University and their offer of the space to host this event as scheduled.
  • Monday, April 24: School will be canceled for Highland High School.
  • Tuesday, April 25 through Friday, April 28: Classes for Highland High School will be held virtually for all grades 9-12. The previously scheduled ISAT testing has been temporarily postponed. More details to follow.
  • Mid-term grade posting will be temporarily postponed. More details to follow.

At this time, the following details have been confirmed by officials:

  • The fire impacted the D-wing. The fire doors operated as intended; therefore, preliminary reports indicate B, Upper B and C wings are not damaged by fire, but there is significant water on the floor surface. We will continue to work with investigators and officials to assess water and smoke
  • damage.
    The power is currently off for the entire facility.
  • The Pocatello Police Department is patrolling the site and nobody will be permitted on-site until further notice. We appreciate the community’s efforts to stay away from the area. Please do not fly drones in the area.
  • This is an ongoing investigation. District administration and Highland administration will have access to the building as permitted by investigators and other officials working on the case. In-person instruction will resume only when the building has been cleared by officials.


Safety is our highest priority. Once the building has been determined to be safe, the district will develop a plan for learners and staff to retrieve any personal items.

Resuming face-to-face learning as soon as possible will continue to be a high priority. Returning to the building will be a decision made based on safety in consultation between PCSD 25 administration, investigators, engineers, and other officials.

PCSD 25 administration is actively working with its insurance company to replace any personal property.
PCSD 25 administration is working with state and federal food service programs to discuss the possibility for the distribution of meals moving forward.

While we appreciate any offers to set-up GoFundMe accounts, we have not currently identified any needs for fundraising. District administration will work to identify any needs and work directly with its District resources, School District 25 Education Foundation and Highland High School Foundation for any extra donation support.

PCSD 25 administration and Highland High School administration are continuing to finalize short-term and long-term plans as details are confirmed from officials working at the scene. Again, we appreciate the outpouring of support and good will that we have received both locally and across the state. We will continue to keep Highland families and community members updated throughout the days and weeks to come with details as they are confirmed.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m. Pocatello Fire Department is saying Building D at Highland School is a total loss. Building D includes the cafeteria, gymnasium, choir, and band rooms. A few classrooms were also damaged in that part of the building.

They say most classrooms were saved from the fire, but there is some smoke damage.

Firefighters are still putting out hot spots.

We'll have more coverage of the fire coming up today on Local News 8 at Noon.

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 administration will be meeting with Highland High School administration and staff members later Friday morning to address short-term plans moving forward.

While the district does not have many confirmed details to share at this time, here is what we know.

The safety and well-being of our learners and staff is the district's highest priority. This situation is going to require patience and stamina as officials work together as a community to continue to serve Highland learners and staff in the best way possible.

"We appreciate the outpouring of support and goodwill that we have received both locally and across the state including Governor Little’s office and the Idaho Superintendent of Schools. We will continue to keep Highland families updated throughout the days and weeks to come with details as they are confirmed."

Highland High School on Fire. Courtesy: Pocatello Fire Department

ORIGINAL: Highland High School in Pocatello is currently in flames.

The fire was reported around 4 a.m. Friday morning amidst snowfall.

The Chubbuck Fire Department is helping out the Pocatello Fire Department fight the fire.

Bench Road is currently closed in front of the high school.

No injuries have been reported yet. The cause of the fire has not been determined yet.

Flames can be seen burning on Highland School, April 21, 2023. Courtesy: Pocatello Fire Department
Firefighters work on putting out flames at Highland High School on the morning of April 21, 2023. KIFI Local News 8
Smoke billows out of Highland High School as the sun rises. KIFI Local News 8
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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8.


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