Oakland school damaged by fire will be open Tuesday

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU and wires) -- Crews were still inspecting an Oakland middle school after a fire destroyed the school's cafeteria, but officials announced Monday afternoon that it would be open on Tuesday.

The cafeteria in Claremont Middle School was heavily damaged in a two-alarm fire reported at 1:49 a.m., fire officials said. The school is located at 5750 College Ave., near the Rockridge BART station.

Firefighters arrived quickly from the station next to the school and contained the fire to the cafeteria, according to the fire department. It was under control at 3:10 a.m.

There were signs of forced entry to the building, Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said this morning. Police are investigating the fire as a possible arson.

While there was no structural damage to the school, the cafeteria was totally destroyed, Flint said.

"It's not going to be usable anytime soon," he said.

Oakland fire Battalion Chief Geoff Hunter estimated the damage at $1 million.

While school is closed Monday for President's Day, the school district decided at around 4 p.m. that the middle school would be open Tuesday. 

While the cafeteria will be out of commission for the rest of the school year, the district does have a plan to ensure that meals will be made available to the students.

"For the remainder of this week, we will be delivering cold lunches from another site," explained Flint. "Then next week, we'll deliver hot meals from the kitchen at Oakland High."

No firefighters or civilians were injured in the blaze.