Fire breaks out in school building

Junior High School fire
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Emergency responders filled the parking lot of Paragould Junior High School on Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to the school around 1:30 in the afternoon.

Fire Chief Kevin Lang said smoke was coming out of the building when they arrived.

"Smoke was showing when we got here," Lang said. "Some of the school personnel told us the room they thought it was in. Originally, they told us they thought it was a mechanical room. It actually turned out to be a Home-Ec room. It appears to have started near a plug in area where an appliance of some sort was plugged in."

Lang said information from school personnel warned them they were walking into an electrical situation.

"They got it under control within ten minutes," Lang said. "It was confined to one room so they were able to knock it down pretty quick with a dry chemical. Knowing it was electrical on the first end, telling us it was a mechanical room, we didn't want to throw water on a breaker panel. Especially when we know it's probably still energized. So, once they got it knocked down, we were able to get a line in there and flow some water on it and knock it the rest of the way down."

Assistant Superintendent Jeremy Mangrum of the Paragould School District said the fire department got there quickly but added he wasn't sure how much damage was done.

"It's hard to tell how bad the damage is," Mangrum said. "Right now, the power is cut to the building so it's really hard to see exactly how much damage we have and what the extent is. We won't know until we can really get in there."

Mangrum said they were thrilled no one was hurt and got out okay.

"The fire alarm was pulled quickly as soon as smoke was detected and everybody was cleared out of the building. So, we're thankful there were no injuries and everybody was able to get out safely," Mangrum said.

Mangrum said their next step will be to figure out what they're facing.

"We'll start immediately on getting the process going as far as getting professionals in here," Mangrum said. "Getting professionals to clean and minimize the damage as much as possible and figure out what we need to replace so that we can get everything going and everything ready for the first day of school."

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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