Westminster's Standley Lake High School remains closed 1 day after student sets himself on fire

Teen burned over 80% of his body

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - Standley Lake High School in Westminster will remain closed on Tuesday, but counselors will be available after a 16-year-old boy set himself on fire in an apparent suicide attempt.

Authorities say the boy was burned over 80 percent of his body and is in critical condition at a local hospital.

Westminster Police Department spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said the boy didn't make any threats before starting the fire in the cafeteria at about 7:15 a.m. Monday.

A custodian used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze before it could spread.

At least 60 other students were in the cafeteria who may have witnessed the horrific incident, said Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer. Other students were in a hallway who may have see what happened through windows. But no other people were hurt.

Investigators went through the school with bomb-detection dogs as a precaution, and no devices were discovered. Investigators are also talking to students, faculty members and family members to find out what happened.

Investigators said they are also focusing on messages the boy posted on his Facebook page and one sent out via his cellphone.

Police aren't releasing the victim's name, but several friends have posted the message, "Pray for Vince," on their Facebook pages.

The father of one of those friends told 7NEWS that his son witnessed the incident and was left traumatized.

"He's been shaking all day long," the father said.

The father added that the 16-year-old had been to their house before.

"He'd spent the night here during sleepovers," he said.

The father added that they had no idea the teen was struggling emotionally.

Neither did the boy's neighbor.

"I've seen the boy," said Chuck Monteen. "I've shaken his hand. I've watched him play in the yard with his siblings and his friends. He was never very talkative but was always polite. And it just surprises me that this would happen."

The school was evacuated following the incident and an emergency notification went out to parents via phone and email.

Standley Lake High School students and staff are scheduled to return to regular classes on Wednesday.   

When school resumes, district officials said students will follow a regular schedule, periods one through eight, through the end of the week. There will be no block schedules. This with allow students to check-in with their regular teachers and other school staff.

The Jefferson Center for Mental Health will offer mental health services through a 24-hour number at 303-425-0300. Another resource offered to families and students is Safe2Tell at 877-542-7233.

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