Pella Chronicle

January 10, 2014

Fire at CHS closes Centerville schools

By Kyle Ocker
Daily Iowegian

---- — Centerville Fire Chief Mike Bogle says furniture located in the teacher’s lounge of Centerville High School caught fire Thursday afternoon. The fire prompted an evacuation of the high school and then an eventual district-wide early dismissal.

Bogle was unsure of what caused the furniture to catch fire Thursday. He said that the State Fire Marshall’s Office was called in to help investigate the fire, and were on their way as of Thursday afternoon. Also assisting with the fire investigation are the Centerville Police Department, Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office and Centerville Fire Department.

Centerville Schools Superintendent Tony Ryan, along with Bogle, confirmed there were no injuries in the fire.

The fire prompted an early dismissal at all of the district’s buildings. Ryan said the decision to close all schools as a result of the fire at the high school was made for transportation and consistency reasons in notifying the parents and transporting children from school.

“Collaboratively we discussed administratively … with being user-friendly with the buses and the transportation fleet that … it was best to dismiss all students at the same time and communicate with parents on a consistent basis,” Ryan said. “We try to do that on every cancelation for our parents because of daycare or what have you.”

According to office personnel and Centerville High School principal Roger Raum, after the initial fire alarm sounded, a teacher who was in the office went to check on the location. The teacher observed flames in the room identified as the teacher’s lounge and shut the door to the room. A secondary announcement was then made ordering an evacuation of the building, while law enforcement, the administration building and the alarm company were informed about the fire.

Bogle said that the teacher closing the door to the room helped contain the fire to just one room.

Students were evacuated to the YMCA, which is located just a few hundred feet from the school.

The Centerville Fire Department was first dispatched to the school around 12:16 p.m. Thursday. The first firefighters on scene reported a room full of smoke and at 12:21 p.m. there was an active fire, according to scanner traffic.

The Mystic Fire Department was called in for mutual aid at approximately 12:23 p.m. and additional manpower was called to help with ventilation of the school.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Ryan was unsure if there would be school in Centerville on Friday. The Daily Iowegian will update our website and Facebook page should an announcement be made regarding a school closure.

Students were allowed to return to the high school at approximately 3 p.m. Thursday to retrieve personal items under fire personnel escort.