Officials set Iowa elementary school on fire, save on costs

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EXIRA, Iowa (AP) -- A nearly century-old elementary school building in the western Iowa town of Exira went up in flames Sunday as part of a school district's efforts to save money, a planned event that compelled residents and former students to watch.

Firefighters from around the region gathered to participate in the controlled burn, which had been in the books for months and kept getting delayed because of poor weather. Sunday's mild winds allowed the burn to take place.

The Exira Elk Horn-Kimballton Community School District said the controlled burn will save them up to $60,000 in demolition costs and offer critical training. The building closed in 2011 after it became unstable, and elementary students now attend school in nearby Elk Horn as part of a sharing agreement.

Sunday's event piqued the interest of residents, some of whom lined up across the street in lawn chairs and blankets like it was a parade route.

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