Update 10:20 p.m.: YMS Fire Causes Water Damage | Community

Update 10:20 p.m.: YMS Fire Causes Water Damage | Community

A small fire at the Yankton Middle School Thursday afternoon was quickly contained, but some extensive water damage was reported from the sprinkler system.

Yankton firefighters were summoned to the middle school building on Mulberry Street shortly after 1:30 pm after smoke was detected.

According to Yankton Assistant Fire Chief Larry Nickles, firefighters found the source of the smoke almost immediately upon arrival.

“They found what appeared to be a garbage fire in the first room that they came to,” he said, adding it appeared to emanate from “a pile of rubbish” in the corner of a second-floor room.

It’s believed that a six-pack-sized electric soda cooler may have caused the fire.

A small part of the blaze extended up the wall and into the ceiling area. For a time some small whiffs of smoke could be seen rising from the roof near the western entrance that leads to the South Gym.

In the meantime, several units from the Yankton Fire Department, including the ladder truck, responded to the call. Nickles said firefighters did have to use their water hoses to help contain the situation, but that spent “a minute amount” of water.

Nickles said further inspection of the facility revealed extensive water damage from three different sprinklers that went off from the heat. There was ceiling damage on the first floor as water dripped down into classrooms and offices.

He added that there was light smoke damage on both the first and second floors of the north half of the middle school building.

Nickles said the school’s sprinkler system held the fire in check.

“The sprinkler (system) did what it was supposed to do,” he said.

Nickles said there were up to six people in the building at the time of the incident, but all of them were safely outside once the first firefighters arrived on the scene.

Crews stayed on site Thursday afternoon to clean up the building and clear out the smoke.

Nickles said school officials were already responding to the incident.

In an email to the Press & Dakotan Yankton School District Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kindle was grateful to the Yankton firefighters and others in their efforts.

“I want to personally thank our local fire department and emergency personnel for their excellent response,” he said. “Additionally, a special thanks (goes out) to various Yankton School District staff for their timely and professional response at the onset of this event.”

He said he was relieved there were no injuries.

Now, the district is addressing the clean-up and any repair work that must be done.

“We are working with our insurance company to assess damages and are in the process of obtaining a professional cleaning service to lead the cleaning efforts,” Kindle said. “Our goal will be to start classes at Yankton Middle School on time, if possible.”

The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 22.

Also on the scene were Yankton County EMS, the Yankton County Office of Emergency Management and Yankton police.

Follow @kelly_hertz on Twitter.

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2022-08-05 03:00:00