RPS releases security footage from night of Fox Elementary School fire

Fox Elementary School Security Video .jpg
Posted at 12:10 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 15:11:35-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools (RPS) was able to recover some security footage from the ashes of William Fox Elementary School following a "catastrophic" fire on Friday.

A total of five videos were released by the district. Most of the videos show the outside of the school in Richmond's Fan District on Hanover Avenue, which help to create a timeline of the firefighters' response.

RPS noted the timestamp on the videos is 40 minutes earlier than the actual time the events occurred.

One video shows firefighters enter the building from the front door and pressurize fire hoses when visiting the building a second time for the fire call. After the firefighters leave the building at 11:20 p.m., smoke from the second floor fills the foyer and embers begin crashing through to the first floor, according to RPS's timeline of the video.

A large ceiling collapse occurred in the foyer at 11:36 p.m., filling the space with embers before the video cuts out seven minutes later.

RELATED: After the fire: What's next for Fox Elementary in Richmond?

The whole series of events began just before 9:30 on Friday night, when firefighters initially raced to the school after a citizen reported an alarm sounding inside, according to dispatch records.

Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter told reporters Saturday the department was not certain if it was a fire alarm, a motion detector or a burglar alarm that was triggered.

The chief said fire crews responded, gained access to the building by letting themselves in and searched the inside of the entire school twice using thermal imaging cameras, checking all floors and found nothing "out of the ordinary." Crews then locked the building back up at 10:09 p.m. The security footage shows firefighters leaving at 10:05 p.m.

Firefighters were then dispatched back to the building for a fire call, arrived at approximately 10:39 p.m. based on the footage, and found the structure on fire.

The fire was marked under control at about 2:44 a.m.