Fire errupts in local school from chemical reaction

POSTED: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 3:44pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 1, 2012 - 10:40pm

TEMPLE -- It wasn't your typical spark that started this fire, but a chemical reaction that caused a 100-year old school building to ignite.

"There were rags with stain or some kind of flammable material on it that were placed upon paint cans and a chemical reaction causes, caused them to combust," Temple Montessori School Director, Jennifer Watson said.

Temple Montessori School on the 1300 block of South 27th street was engulfed in smoke by the time fire fighters arrived a little after 9 Tuesday night.

"Concern was that if the fire was spreading that we needed to get as many people there as possible," Thomas Pechal with Temple Fire Department said.

So they set off a second alarm, bringing a total of 6 fire trucks and 31 firefighters to the scene to extinguish the flames shortly after 10.

The school was in the process of having wood floors installed and the floors were nearly complete when the fire happened.

The director said she won't be pressing charges however the contractor is liable. As for right now, they're just waiting for the insurance investigator to come out and assess the damages.

Luckily, school was out and no one was injured.

"We've been here for 30 years and we're going to continue forward," Watson said.

But the Temple Fire Department warns the same mistake can happen in your own home.

 "Any time you have any type of oil any kind of solvents anything like that, that's a potential ignition source. So it's really important that after you finish using that rag, that you dispose of it properly," Pechal said.

Watson said they plan to have a camp start June 4th, however now the location may be moved. But she still hopes the building will be complete by the start of school in August.

The school holds classes for children ages 2 through 6th grade. They have about 75 students and 11 teachers.

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