By Kyle Ocker
The Daily Iowegian
CENTERVILLE — UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Centerville High School activities director Greg Fisher reports that as acknowledgement of the way students at the high school handled the fire situation Thursday, all high school students will be admitted into Friday's boys' basketball game against Chariton free of charge: Click here to read story.
Centerville High School was evacuated after a fire broke out in the teacher's lounge of the building Thursday afternoon. Centerville Schools Superintendent Tony Ryan, along with Centerville Fire Chief Mike Bogle, confirmed there were no injuries in the fire.
According to a press release from the Centerville Police Department received at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday, an investigation by the Centerville Police Department and the Centerville Fire Department determined the fire began in an electrical outlet and spread to a nearby couch. No foul play is suspected.
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 helped contain the fire to just the teacher's lounge.
The Centerville Fire Department was first dispatched to the school around 12:15 p.m. The Centerville Fire Department arrived on scene at 12:19 p.m. and began extinguishing the fire. Firefighters on scene reported a room full of smoke and the first floor hallway filling with smoke. The school continued to be evacuated by law enforcement, who cleared all levels of the building.
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. Students were moved to the YMCA at around 12:30 p.m. to get them out of the cold weather.
The fire was declared under control at approximately 12:54 p.m.
The Centerville Community School District announced Thursday night that the district would be closed on Friday. However, evening activities would take place as originally scheduled.
Students were allowed to return to the high school at approximately 3 p.m. Thursday to retrieve personal items under fire personnel escort.
Agencies assisting at the scene of the fire included the Centerville Police Department, Centerville Fire Department, Appanoose County Sheriff's Office, ADLM Emergency Management, Mystic Fire Department, Mercy Ambulance, Iowa State Patrol and the staff of the Centerville School District.