Heritage students worry about education after devastating fire

TOPPENISH, Wash. -- Heavy smoke and hot spots kept firefighters working at Heritage University in Toppenish. The fire that started almost 30 hours ago destroyed the main building. There's at least a million dollars in damage.

Firefighters are watching and waiting. Students are doing much of the same.

"It's pretty sad," said Freshman, Victor Ramos. "I come to school today and have to leave early."

School closed at noon Monday because of smoke and a water shortage. Fountains ran dry and bathrooms were closed.

Student Victoria Lopez is one of 1,200 Heritage students with questions.

"It's pretty frustrating because I'm failing this class and need all the help I can get," said Lopez. "And, if no one if in that building how can and who am I going to contact to help me out?"

The University is functioning the way schools had to decades ago. There is no Internet, email or landlines.

"We're doing a lot of walking around campus," said President John Bassett. "Using our cell phones. Students, I found out, get their info from Facebook. So, we're using that too."

Administrators hit the drawing board to come up with a permanent solution. They'll likely bring in more portables and re-work schedules for now.

Meanwhile, investigators wait to sort through the rubble to figure out what happened. A wait that could extend into the middle of the week.

Investigators think there's a good chance the fire started in the kitchen from an electric appliance. Water is running again on campus. Students will be back at school Tuesday Morning.