Middle school evacuated

TENNERTON — Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School was evacuated Thursday afternoon for a motor that overheated on a heater.

Smoke filled the third floor and one of the stairwells at B-UMS, according to Lt. Joey Baxa with the Buckhannon Fire Department.

“The BFD was dispatched at 1:46 p.m. and was on scene at 1:50,” he said. “We responded with 12 firefighters.”

Superintendent Roy Wager said a Parent Link call was sent out to all middle school parents about the incident.

“We had a stairwell heater that was overheating,” Wager said. “We evacuated the school immediately. It wasn’t on fire, but it was smoking from overheating.”

Students went outside initially but were then taken to the gym while the smoke cleared from the other part of the school.

“The whole thing took about half an hour and they were able to go back to class,” Wager said.

The superintendent said with a building as old as the middle school, “You can only maintain and repair so long.”

Washington District Volunteer Fire Company, Adrian Volunteer Fire Department, Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department and Warren District Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the incident. Jane Lew VFD was initially dispatched as is protocol with commercial fire calls, but ultimately did not respond to the scene.

“We were on scene about 45 minutes,” Baxa said. “Maintenance helped take out a part the heater where the malfunction was, and then we worked on ventilating the rest and clearing out all the smoke and odor.”

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