Construction sparks two-alarm roof fire at St. Petersburg High School

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A two-alarm fire at St. Petersburg High School caused two firefighters to go to the hospital for heat exhaustion Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters said it started on the roof of the Bell building where workers were in the process of completing $30 million renovations on the historic school.

"They were doing some hot work, so basically the roofing company that was on scene was using torches to melt some of the tar to finish up their work. Some insulation accidentally caught on fire at that time," said Steve Lawrence of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.

Lawrence said the fire grew to need 40 to 50 firefighters at the scene. While no one was hurt, two firefighters went to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

"Our biggest concern is making sure they get hydrated. The weather and heat this time of year is very brutal on the body," said Lawrence.

Some students were on campus in a different part of the school for volleyball tryouts when they say a teacher arrived.

"We had a water break, and then we were going to get back into the volleyball stuff. Then he came in and told us we needed to evacuate," said Kate Youmans, a St. Petersburg High School junior.

New classrooms, Wi-Fi and more are coming to the 1920's-era school.  A $30 million, two-year renovation began in June.

"The work will continue. We expect that the renovations that were already planned will still be able to be completed," said Lisa Wolf-Chason, the Pinellas County Schools spokesperson. "We anticipate that this won't delay us on our timeline, and we shouldn't have an impact to our budget."

Firefighters said there's a moderate amount of damage that fortunately only impacted a newer section of the building.

"I think it's scary anytime we experience a fire on any one of our campuses, especially one of historical significance. I think it was very lucky that the St. Petersburg fire department was able to quickly respond," said Wolf-Chason.

School administrators said the first and second floors of the building where the fire happened should be open as planned for the first day of school on August 14. They will have to look at the damage on the third floor and see how soon it will be open for classes.