CASCADE — A 7:15 wake-up call of fire for principal of Cascade Schools Michelle Price that could’ve turned south. An elevator that was built into the Elementary side of the school sparked a small fire due to negligence from a contracted installer who used residential wiring for a commercial breaker.
“We just know that had somebody not seen it, it could have been fairly disastrous for our school,” said Price.
Staff and fire personnel acted fast. Cascade Schools teachers immediately moved students on campus to a safe zone at the Methodist Church.
“Even though it was a chaotic event. Something that we're prepared for and hope we never have to go through. It was just that everybody was ready. They thought through the safety of the kids and the staff is the most important.”
Parents were notified by phone call and text message at 7:33 a.m. about a “small fire” and were asked to plan to pick up their children at the Methodist Church “safe zone” and school was canceled.
Later in the morning at 10:22, another phone call notifying parents that it was a small electrical fire and school would resume the following day.
The heroes of the day are surely the school staff and the firefighters, but there was a group of Junior and Senior high school FFA students who had to wrap up an early morning meeting. The 10 students assisted staff, taking on a pivotal leadership role in evacuating younger students.
“They made sure that all the little kids that were walking in were taken care of. They helped us get everything organized in the church for the other students that were coming in.”
Principal Price said the outpouring of support from not only students, parents, and the staff was wonderful, but it was the surrounding community members who were eager to help.
We spoke with the electrician handling the situation who said that the wiring in the light switch that powers the elevator lights was only able to handle 15 amps and the wires needed to handle 20 amps of voltage.
School administration says that they will take any means necessary to ensure any electrical work in the school is up to code. Unfortunately, the wiring for the elevator was not. The electrician said that he is to believe that no other wiring in the school is a threat to the safety of students and staff. He credits the Cascade School for being more up to code than other schools in surrounding areas.
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