School evacuated for fire

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Robert Lewis Middle School students were evacuated Monday morning when a fire started in one of the school&8217;s bathrooms.

The fire &8212; apparently caused by electrical problems &8212; was contained to the room and no one was injured, district spokeswoman Beverly Raines said.

&8220;Teachers smelled smoke and contacted the office,&8221; Raines said. &8220;(They) felt the door to the bathroom and it was hot, so they backed off.&8221;

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Three engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to the scene along with the fire chief and fire marshal.

Fire Chief Paul Johnson said a full response was routine anytime there is a fire reported at a school. The Natchez Fire Department received the call at 10:18 a.m.

&8220;It seems as though the fire started around an exhaust fan in the back of one of the boys bathrooms,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;It did a little damage to the bathroom and put a little smoke in the building.&8221;

Students in the affected portion of the building had been evacuated by the time Johnson arrived, he said. The bathroom that caught on fire is close to the school&8217;s gym.

Raines said there was a lot of smoke damage in the bathroom and some ceiling tiles had to be removed to ensure the fire was out.