This past Wednesday evening, one of the dryers in the South basement laundry room malfunctioned and caught fire resulting in minor damage, but no injuries were reported.
The fire also caused scheduled activities, including the juniors parents night to be postponed due to the accumulation of smoke. However, school did resume on Thursday as the flames only caused minor damage and thus the building was deemed safe.
Custodian Mike Kelly describes the fire as being more of an inconvenience than scary event, as the cause of the fire was identified to be tire bits from the football field getting stuck inside the dryer.
“There was a dryer [that] they dry towels and uniforms in down in the basement and it caught fire basically because the fire department says there’s these black little shredded tires that they put on the football field. I guess that got caught in the dryer and they didn’t know about it…and I guess that caught fire. The smoke alarms went off and the fire department came and put it out,” Kelly said.
Due to the flames inability to spread from inside the dryer, no other objects in the room were ruined. However, the stench of burnt rubber filled the entire school, and therefore was the biggest concern.
“The minimum damage just the inside of the dryer was all charred, but it was contained to the inside of the dryer, but the smell was had to close down all the events last night like the junior parent night had to be cancelled and the community ed classes all cancelled. It was just a big inconvenience,” Kelly said.
By Thursday morning, this smell had vanished from the school, so no further activities or classes were cancelled.
Sophomore Rebecca Bojar was one of students who returned to South after sports practices, and witnessed the aftermath of the fire.
“When we came back from track practice, we were locked out of the school. It was a really scary experience because we thought South was going to burn down. It smelled really bad once we got inside,” Bojar said.
As Bojar further explains the majority of the students like herself were most fearful of the effects of ingesting the smoke. However, since the fire was handled efficiently, her concerns relating to the building igniting in flames were soon eased.
Bojar remains impressed with the extensive measures taken by the fire department to rid the school of fumes and ensure the safety of all students and faculty.
“It was cool in the end because we knew the fire department was ventilating the school so the smell would go away,” Bojar said.