Small fire put out at Marshall High School gym

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall High School principal Brian Jones talked about the effects of a fire near the high school gym late Monday night. Soot and a burnt spot on the concrete floor marked where a piece of sanding equipment started on fire in an emergency exit stairwell.

MARSHALL — A piece of equipment used in sanding the Marshall High School gymnasium floor was the source of a fire Monday night and early Tuesday morning, school officials and the Marshall Fire Department said.

The fire didn’t cause much damage to the building, but the school district will need to do some cleaning to get rid of smoke and soot.

“The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured,” Marshall Superintendent Scott Monson said. He thanked the fire department and MPS staff for their response at the scene.

The school district was notified of a possible fire at the high school around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, Monson said. The Marshall Fire Department was alerted to a general fire alarm in the building, and firefighters did a walkthrough of the school along with Marshall Police, said Marshall Fire Chief Quentin Brunsvold.

During the walkthrough, responders noticed a piece of equipment on fire in an emergency exit near the north gymnasium, Brunsvold said.

“It was pretty much confined, for the most part, in that area,” he said. The emergency exit area also included a stairwell leading up to the mezzanine around the two high school gyms.

The piece of equipment that was on fire had been used earlier in the day, in the process of sanding and refinishing the gym floor, Monson said. The high school is currently in the process of repairing water damage caused during this spring’s severe snowstorms. At the time, snow got into the gyms through the school’s air handling systems, and the moisture warped the floorboards.

Responders put out the fire, but Brunsvold said there was smoke and soot in the emergency exit and the stairwell, as well as some smoke in the gyms. The fire was right underneath a fire sprinkler, but it didn’t get hot enough to trigger the sprinkler system, Brunsvold said.

Dion Caron, director of business services for Marshall Public Schools, said he would be learning more Tuesday about what needed to be done to clean up after the fire. Cleanup might be more a matter of getting smoke smells out of the gym area than fixing any specific damage, he said.

Caron said work on the gym floors is continuing. The project is expected to be finished by Aug. 16, before school starts.


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