Only kiln damaged in fire at Center Grove High School

An exhaust fan on a piece of art room equipment at Center Grove High School had not been turned on, causing it to overheat and smoke and requiring students to evacuate last week, fire officials said.

The only damage at the 2,500-student high school was to the kiln, which firefighters doused with water, Bargersville Fire Chief Jason Ramey said.

Firefighters also opened up the building to let the smoke caused by the overheated kiln escape, Ramey said.

School officials did not need to hire crews to clean the building and used fans to dry the water, Center Grove spokeswoman Stacy Conrad said.

Students returned to that section of the building and the art classroom the next day, she said.

Firefighters were called to the high school Sept. 1 when the fire alarms went off just before 1:30 p.m. Students and staff were evacuated.

When firefighters arrived, they found a kiln that had overheated and was smoking, Ramey said.

They later determined the exhaust system had not been turned on, which caused the kiln to overheat and did not allow smoke inside the machine to escape, he said.

Fire officials initially were concerned about smoke damage to that area of the building, including the art hallway and Hall of Excellence.

They opened up the building to let the smoke out, he said.

The school put in fans to dry up water, but nothing else was needed, Conrad said.

The kiln will need to be replaced or repaired, she said. No estimate was available on the cost of that work, she said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.