Niagara Gazette

May 6, 2013

Fire forces evacuation at elementary school

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

LEWISTON —

Shortly after leaving their buses or parents dropped their children off at West Street Elementary Monday, an electrical fire forced an evacuation of the building.

At about 9:40 a.m. Monday, Lewiston police and several local fire companies responded to a fire alarm after what Superintendent James Knowles described as a small, electrical fire broke out in the kindergarten wing of the Sanborn building.

"It was in the kindergarten wing, but it was in a storage room, not a class room," Knowles said.

Students were evacuated by bus to Niagara-Wheatfield High School and were dismissed to parents, who were notified via the district's all-call system, beginning at 11 a.m. Any students not picked up at the high school were fed and cared for throughout Monday's school day and were dismissed from the building as normal, Knowles said.

Knowles said no one was injured as a result of the fire or the evacuation but damage did occur and is still being investigated.

Lewiston Police Chief Christopher Salada said the school's administrators and teachers did a good job handling the evacuation.

"The West Street School administration and staff followed their fire protocol and quickly got all of the children out of the building where they were then bussed to Niagara-Wheatfield High School," Salada said in a post to the Lewiston Police Department's Facebook page. "Prompt action from the staff along with well implemented policy resulted in a smooth response and the safety of all staff and students."

Knowles said school would reopen Tuesday morning. The only difference would be kindergarten will be moved to a different location within the building, he said, as investigators are expected to continue and damage caused by the fire and smoke will be repaired.