UPDATE: Automated phone calls from Hamilton County Schools say Loftis Middle School will be closed for classes Tuesday.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The investigation continues at Loftis Middle School, where a fire alarm, triggered at 2:30 a.m., alerted the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department to the school.
When fire crews arrived to deactivate the alarm, they heard noises inside the building, and police were then called to the scene. Shortly afterwards, a fire started on the right side of the building, triggering the school's sprinkler system and extinguishing the fire.
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office SWAT team responded to the school, assisted by the Red Bank Police Department SWAT team. The teams performed an extensive search of the building, beginning on the roof and then into the school itself.
The SWAT team concluded the search about 9:45 a.m., no finding anyone inside the school building.
Officers observed evidence of vandalism, such as broken windows, destroyed classrooms, blinds torn off windows and the main office ransacked and destroyed.
The sprinkler system activation resulted in possible water damage to 10-12 classrooms at the school, resulting in the school being closed to classes Monday.
Nearby McConnell Elementary School was not directly affected; classes will be held.