Woodshop fire closes Skyview High School

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2001

SOLDOTNA (AP) -- Skyview high school reopened Wednesday, one day after a fire filled much of the school with smoke.

The fire began in a metal bin that collects sawdust from the shop class's saws and sanders with high-power vacuum hoses, said Gary Hale, fire marshal for Soldotna's Central Emergency Services. Firefighters were called at 11:45 a.m.

''It filled the building with smoke, or a good portion of the building,'' said Gary Whiteley, assistant superintendent for instruction.

The school's 630 students were sent home early Tuesday. No one was injured.

The school's sprinkler system operated properly and firefighters later sprayed water inside the sawdust container. Damage was minimal. No dollar estimate was available.

Students were taken by bus from Skyview to Soldotna High School, where parents were able to pick up their children.

Hale wasn't sure what ignited the highly flammable dust. He planned to talk to teachers. ''We're treating it as an accident, but it is under investigation,'' he said. The wood shop will be out of commission until its vacuum system is running again.

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