A teacher at Indian Creek High School returned to his classroom after taking students out to the greenhouse and saw smoke pouring from a classroom closet.
The teacher tried to put out the fire in one of the school’s agriculture/shop classrooms with a fire extinguisher but had to call for help just before noon on Wednesday.
Trafalgar Fire Department firefighters came to the school as smoke poured into a locker room and the gym while the more than 600 students were evacuated. The fire was able to reach the roof of the high school, and the fire department said that combustible items and flammable materials stored in the room caused high heat and heavy smoke in the building.
All students got out safely and followed the evacuation drill protocol they practice monthly, said Timothy Edsell, superintendent of Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Schools.
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Students stood outside for about 20 minutes while firefighters battled the blaze. Part of the fire reached the roof of the school, said Tom Tharpe, chief of the Trafalgar Fire Department.
Classes resumed after firefighters determined other parts of the school were safe, he said. The portion of the building where the fire broke out is closed for cleaning and repairs, Edsell said.
Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire, Tharpe said. No foul play is suspected.
Power tools and other combustible material are stored in the classroom closet, including an empty gas can that was charred, Edsell said.
“The closet was pretty black,” he said.
Physical education classes and industrial arts classes were relocated to other parts of the school Thursday and today.
Students are on spring break during the next two weeks and crews should be able to get the space cleaned out while the students are gone, so classes will resume in the affected spaces on April 3, Edsell said.
The cost of the damage from the fire and smoke is not yet known, he said.