BRADENTON -- A fire broke out in a utility closet at the Palma Sola Early Learning Academy this afternoon and forced the evacuation of 18 students, four staff members and two parents. There were no injuries.
Capt. Tom Sousa of the West Manatee Fire District praised the quick reaction of the academy's staff when they saw thick smoke boiling out of the closet containing electrical panels and communications connections.
The staff moved the young children to a nearby church.
The school, located at 7315 1st Ave. NW., sustained $10,000-$20,000 in damages and will be closed for repairs for about one week, Sousa said.
The fire spread from the closet into the attic. School staff noticed smoke coming out of the closet about 4:10 p.m.
Bradenton Fire Department joined West Manatee at the school. In all, 25 firefighter personnel and five fire vehicles responded, Sousa said.
West Manatee and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the blaze, Sousa said.