Hundreds of students stayed home Monday after an east London school was closed following an attempted arson overnight.

Fire crews and police were called to Tweedsmuir Public School after a smashed window and fire damage were discovered very early Monday.

Investigators found a gasoline trail that had been lit, but London police and school officials believe the situation could have been much worse.

Const. Ken Steeves says, "We found out gasoline had been poured inside the school. It had been ignited, but thankfully it did not cause a lot of damage."

Sheila Powell, superintendent with the Thames Valley District School Board, adds, "We did have a break-in at the school this morning and there was some gas spread in the hallway, there was a fire in one bathroom...We are certainly very fortunate that there was not a large fire set in the building and that the damage is relatively minor to the school."

Officials say the school's alarm system sounded quickly, possibly scaring away the suspect(s).

Police have made it clear they are treating this as a major incident, not simply vandalism, and are labelling it a break and enter and arson.

"There was potential for the whole school to ignite - and ultimately cause a lot more damage," Steeves says.

The school will re-open Tuesday morning.