Sunday, July 12, 2020

Smoke at Gunnison MS gives students a free day

Fire started on top of the kiln

by Mark Reaman

Students in the Gunnison School District don’t get many ‘snow days’ over the course of a school year but the kids in the Gunnison elementary and middle school got a ‘smoke day’ this week. A small fire that started early Tuesday morning resulted in major smoke damage at the school so the kids had the day off.

According to Re1J school superintendent Doug Tredway the fire started in the kiln room just off the school’s art room. He received a call from the fire alarm company at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday. Apparently, teachers were going over how to turn the kiln on and off Monday afternoon and accidentally left it on. There were some items on top of the kiln and given that the kiln can reach temperatures of 800-degrees, those items caught on fire.

Gunnison police and firefighters responded to the alarm and saw smoke in the building. Firefighters put it out immediately but the smoke damage was done.

“The smoke that the incident created filled the art room with heavy, black smoke,” explained Tredway. “The walls and ceiling were black and coated in soot. The smoke got under the door so it really smelled up the building with a heavy, toxic smoke smell. So we had to cancel school for Tuesday.”

A local cleaning company, J and K Cleaning Services, was brought in to ‘wet vacuum’ the rugs, wash the walls and ventilate the school. By Tuesday night, the school was ready for students. Tredway said the art room is closed off and will need major repairs. The school district has been in contact with its insurance company.

“The kids were all back on Wednesday and I was over there and it was all good,” assured Tredway. “I have to say that the first responders were all really professional and the cleaning company along with our janitorial staff were great. They all worked super hard to get us back in and they nailed it.”

It appears there will be no holiday pottery projects this year.

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