Students and staff were evacuated from Center Grove High School after a kiln in the art department caught fire Thursday afternoon.

The smoking kiln caused fire alarms at the school to trigger just before 1:30 p.m., and all students and staff were evacuated from the school.

No one was injured, Bargersville Fire Department Chief Jason Ramey said.

Center Grove smoke 2

Firefighters from Bargersville and White River Township fire departments used about 800 gallons of water to douse the kiln and the area around it, he said.

Smoke poured into the art hallway and the school’s Hall of Excellence, he said.

School and fire officials were working to clear and clean the smoke after the fire was put out Thursday afternoon and evening. The school building is not expected to have any lasting damage from the smoke. Classes, including in the art hallway, were expected to continue today, he said.

“I think the damage itself is isolated to that piece of equipment,” Ramey said.

What caused the kiln to smoke and catch fire is under investigation, and officials don’t know if the equipment malfunctioned or something in the kiln caused the fire, Ramey said.

Students were sent to the high school football field bleachers for about an hour and 20 minutes before they were allowed back into the school to get their belongings, which was around the time they would have been dismissed from school.

Parent teacher conferences that were scheduled for Thursday night were cancelled. Other evening activities went on as scheduled.

Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2774.