A firefighter in the right place at the right time likely helped avert a major fire at the school in Haines Junction, Yukon, on Wednesday.

A fire started in one of the walls, near the shop at St Elias Community School.

A local volunteer firefighter happened to be at the school at the time. She alerted the rest of volunteer fire department when she saw smoke.

"I think it was maintenance-related," said Martin Eckervogt, Haines Junction fire chief, of the fire's origin.

"There was some maintenance done in that area earlier in the day due to frozen water lines which were thawed out and it's possible that the heat source was the cause of it."

Eckervogt says the fire caused a few thousand dollars worth of damage.

He says the students were back in class about an hour after the fire was reported.