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Fire alarms at Gardner School

by Kathy Doolittle
WALSENBURG — Huerfano School District Re-1 held a special board meeting last Tuesday night, Jan. 31 in the administration office.
After the meeting was called to order and the agenda was approved, Gardner school had some business to discuss. On Monday, Jan. 31 an electrical smell was detected in the building and the students were evacuated outside. The fire department was called and after investigation, a faulty fan was believed to be the cause.
On Tuesday, the smell was again present, and the fire and sheriff’s department were called again. The school again proceeded to evacuate students in an orderly and swift manner.
The fire department, teachers and sheriff then discovered a ballast on a fluorescent light fixture had gone out and was causing the wires to melt and smoke. Children were evacuated off school grounds to the community center. At that point the sheriff and fire departments found two other faulty ballasts in the fluorescent fixtures.
There was a slight miscommunication between school personnel and bus personnel on where the busses were to go, the school or community center, and where parents were to pick up kids.
An electrician came into the school in the meantime, stabilized the ballasts and the remaining children who had not been picked up were taken back to school. Everyone was home and safe by regular school dismissal time. Very little damage was reported and the students were in no danger. As it turned out, this event was good practice for everyone concerned.
The board then went into executive session which was closed to the public. The discussion was of a personnel matter to review the Superintendent’s evaluation. After over two hours of deliberation, the board broke out of executive session. Issues at hand had been addressed at length but could not be divulged to the public. A meeting next week will continue discussion on the matter.