Welding causes new elementary school roof fire
With a only a few months to go until its completion, the new Lansing Elementary School suffered a crisis that could have changed everything.
On Friday, Dec. 14, firefighters of the Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 responded to a call at about 9 p.m. regarding a fire on the roof the new elementary school near the intersection of Main and Mary streets.
Fire Chief Rick Huhn said the fire was found around a roof hatch located above the building's stage and gym area. He said crews were welding on the hatch earlier that afternoon and that a spark must have gotten down into the roofing and insulating styrofoam.
Huhn said firefighters were able to contain the fire to the area around the hatch and managed to put tarps below on the newly installed hardwood floors to prevent water damage.
Overall, Huh estimated the roof damage to be around $5,000 to $6,000. No one was in the building at the time, and there were no injuries reported.
Superintendent Randal Bagby said he was thankful Brian Bode, a former school board member, was driving by and able to call 911 to report the fire.
"Catching this quickly was the key to preventing a lot more damage," he said.
Bagby said he was relieved at how little damage there was and attributes it in most part to Bode and the quick response of the fire department.
For now the school has handed the issue over to the insurance company that will do the official appraisal on the damage so that repairs can begin as quickly as possible.
Bagby said he doesn't expect construction to be slowed down because repairs on the damaged section of the roof will not interfere with the current work already in progress.
In the future, Bagby said prevention measure should be looked as closer, like making sure welded areas have cooled off before leaving and that hot metal isn't touching anything flammable.