Dylan L. Johnson, an eighth-grader at Kennedy High School in Kennedy, New York, was the first of three students to die in the school building fire, according to the principal of Westminster High School.
In a statement released on Thursday, Westminster Principal Jim Smith said Johnson was a “special student” and a “very bright kid who always seemed to be doing something interesting.”
“The students who lost their lives in this tragedy have left a huge hole in the community, a hole that has only deepened as time passes,” Smith said.
“I can’t imagine that the grief and the loss of life for all the families and friends who lost loved ones would have been any greater.”
The fire began around 9:45 p.m. in a building at the intersection of Kennedy and West Streets, according the New York Fire Department.
Westminster High Superintendent David Rolfes confirmed the death of Johnson and said the school was in lockdown until further notice.
“We have no other information at this time to share at this point,” Rolfe said.
The school has also been closed for the day and the students will be moved to a different location, according Smith.
According to a tweet from the school, students who attended the school on Thursday are receiving counseling and are being offered support and support groups.
“The entire Westminster community has been devastated by this tragic event,” Smith wrote.
“Westminster is a small school, but we are all deeply saddened and we ask that our students stay focused on their studies and continue to be focused on getting back on track.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.