Trash fire prompts school evacuation

Thursday, January 24, 2008 | 5:11 p.m. CST; updated 12:56 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An intentionally-lit trash fire at Derby Ridge Elementary School prompted an evacuation at 2:33 p.m. yesterday.

The fire was located in the boys restroom near the main office and was first noticed when a student and a teacher saw smoke coming from the room, said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary L. Warren, Jr.

The fire department arrived in about four minutes to find that the teacher had extinguished the fire and the school had been evacuated. Firefighters removed smoke from the main hall using electric fans from a ladder truck on the scene.

The student and teacher first spotted the fire at about 2:30 p.m. The teacher notified the office and then assisted in dousing the fire, which was coming from a trash can in the restroom.

An alarm was activated by a school administrator and teachers executed the escape plan. The school had just practiced the plan a week and a half ago, Warren said.

There was no damage done to the room or trash can, and no one was injured.

“It was a zero dollar loss," Warren said.

The fire was later ruled as intentional and remains under investigation. No arrests had been made.

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