A 200-square-foot abandoned commercial structure in Indio caught fire Wednesday, triggering the precautionary evacuation of Indio High School and at least one nearby business.
The non-injury fire was reported at 12:26 p.m. in the 81000 block of Highway 111, according to Tawny Cabral of the Riverside County Fire Department.
Police shut down Highway 111 from Monroe to Las Palmas streets and Avenue 46 from Avenida Del Mar to Clinton Street, as more than four dozen firefighters fought the blaze, which engulfed the building and sent a billowing cloud of black smoke over the area. Fire crews contained the flames at 2:16 p.m., Cabral said.
Students and staff at Indio High School, which is just off Highway 111 and Avenue 46, were initially relocated to the campus football field as a precaution, according to Desert Sands Unified School District officials. But with air quality a concern, district officials soon decided to release the students early.
Students walking home were directed along safe routes with assistance from Indio police, according to the school district, while those needing to be picked up by parents were directed to the Indio Community Center just north of the campus.
Classes were expected to resume Thursday morning.
Sunline Transit also detoured Lines 80, 81, and 111, while the 14 bus stop is temporarily closed.