INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A group of about 50 people, including more than a dozen children, were receiving fire safety training at a school Monday night when a kindergarten child noticed smoke.
Indianapolis Fire Department crews responded at around 7:10 p.m. to St. Jude Catholic School at 5375 McFarland Road, near the intersection of Thompson Road and Interstate 65 on the southeast side of town. About 20 minutes later, a fire found in a second floor storage room was quickly extinguished.
The cause of the fire was deemed accidental. The spontaneous combustion of a pile of decorative straw in the storage area ignited other objects nearby. Straw can become combustible when wet. The school had been closed since Friday for Martin Luther King Jr.’s vacation weekend.
A group of 30 adults and 19 children, who are in the Cub Scout program in St. Jude, were in the cafeteria for the fire safety session. They had just finished a Stop, Drop and Roll exercise when the kindergarten alerted a troop leader to the smell of smoke. Everyone evacuated safely to the flagpole outside the school, which was the pre-determined place people were to go in the event of a fire.
Firefighting efforts left a hole in the roof and a few shattered windows. The school principal said in a statement that the school will be closed on Tuesday. Preschool and preschool programs, which operate in a different building, will be open.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese and a spokeswoman for the fire department said the damage was minimal.
Battalion Chief Rita Reith, spokesperson for the fire brigade, said in a press release: âThe irony of tonight’s Scout program and a real fire did not escape the adults who were very pleased with the response of the people. young boys. A solid lesson in preparing for the unknown and acting accordingly in an emerging situation. Knowing two exits, an evacuation plan and a meeting place is the most vital part of any fire safety plan. Talking about this plan, and then practicing it, should be part of every family’s conversation and, as has been proven tonight, a quick part of any meeting when occupying a public space. Fire can and does happen anytime and anywhere.
The Beech Grove Fire Department assisted Indianapolis firefighters.
St. Jude caters for kindergarten to eighth grade students and is run by the Archdiocese. The school is adjacent to the Roncalli High School, which is also under the direction of the Archdiocese.
“Have a good evening,
âJust after 7:00 pm tonight, people in our Cub groups noticed a smell of smoke in the school cafeteria. The leaders acted quickly to evacuate the building and notify the authorities. All individuals were safely evacuated and the IFD worked quickly to put out a small fire that was found in a storage area above the cafeteria. The damage is minimal, but the school will be closed tomorrow while we clean up and restore power. We expect school to resume as usual on Wednesday. More details will be distributed as needed. ELM St. Jude will be open for Kindergarten and Kindergarten tomorrow as their building has not been impacted. Thank you to everyone who acted so quickly to ensure the safety and well-being of our parishioners.
âWe are very blessed! “
Beth Meece, principal of St. Jude Catholic School, in a note to school families shared by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Jenny Dreasler of News 8 will be reporting on News 8 at 10 and 11 a.m.