ST. GEORGE – Between 60 and 70 children were evacuated from their classrooms Monday afternoon when the Head Start preschool, located at 494 E. 900 South in St. George, caught fire.
Just before 1:20 p.m., fire alarms began buzzing at the school after flames erupted from an electrical fire.
“They had smoke in the building as well as an electrical fire,” St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said. “Looks like it was contained to one classroom.”
Stoker said the fire was caused by a florescent light that failed and caught fire.
Three engines arrived on scene and a few more were on their way along with a ladder truck. The additional units were canceled after the first three arrived.
“Prior to our arrival, the school did a fantastic job of evacuating all the students,” Stoker said. “The students were all accounted for in their classroom areas outside, where they had practiced their fire drills.”
Fire crews went into the building, found the cause of the fire and shut off the power to the affected classroom. Fire units evacuated smoke from the building with fans. They then proceeded to check the building for carbon monoxide; once the levels went down to zero, St. George Fire proceeded to allow students back into the building.
“The staff actually (were) the ones who put out the fire, with a dry chemical fire extinguisher,” Stoker said. “Because of this there is fire extinguisher powder in that classroom and we have closed off that classroom. The students have been put in another section of the school.”
At the time of this publication, parents had not yet been called regarding the incident. If the fire department had been unable to allow the students back into the building, parents would have been called to come and pick up their children.
“The school did exactly what they had trained to do during their fire drills,” Stoker said. “They exited the building, had all of their students accounted for and with their teachers. This is one of the reasons they are required to do these drills is so when these things happen, it happens just like they drill.”
No one was injured today, Stoker said; everything worked the way it was supposed to from the alarms to the drills to the fire department response.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by responders on scene and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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