Firefighters could be seen cutting a hole in the roof to get to the flames. All students and staff evacuated safely.
A roof-top fire at Louisville Middle School, likely caused by a lightning strike, disrupted classes for about 750 students and prompted an evacuation Wednesday afternoon.
There were no injuries, but firefighters here and from some neighboring communities spent several hours securing the scene.
As of Wednesday evening, it was decided to hold classes today.
“We will have school (today),” Principal Steve Milano of Louisville High School said. “There is hardly any smoke smell at all. We had one computer lab that is damaged; water damage. We got all the computers out of there before the fire department started shooting water.”
Superintendent David Redd was out of town, so Milano was to decide if the middle school would be able to hold classes today. Check CantonRep.com for the latest.
As firefighters fought to contain the blaze, students and school system staff congregated in the parking lots to watch.
Gray smoke rose out of the square-shape roof over an area containing the heating and air-conditioning equipment at the school.
About a dozen firefighters were on the roof, trying to contain the blaze.
“We are pretty sure it is a lightning strike,” said Chief Kevin Lanzer of the Louisville Fire Department. “We have a spot on the roof where the lightning struck it. The wood under the shingles is what spread the fire. When the lightning hit the roof, it reached down to the metal decking. It never got below the metal decking into the school.”
Firefighters responded to 1300 S. Chapel St. at 2:19 p.m. Wednesday.
“We were still in class, students were still in the building,” Principal Jason Greathouse said.
Middle school students were evacuated to the nearby Louisville High School, about 250 yards to the northeast.
The evacuation “went really well,” Milano said. “The teachers did a great job handling the situation.”
The lightning was the result of a thunderstorm which entered the area Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters had to tear off pieces of the roof to attack the blaze. Emergency repair crews were arriving Wednesday afternoon.
“It might just be a tarp this evening just to protect from any more water,” Donald Keefe, a member of the Louisville Board of Education, said. “It will definitely be a temporary fix.”
Other fire departments at the scene were from Canton, Washington, Plain and Osnaburg townships.
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