Jefferson County High School roof collapses

Jefferson County High School roof collapses

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The collapse occurred in a section of the school containing the drama department. The collapse occurred in a section of the school containing the drama department.
"The amount of rain we've had in the Dandridge area alone could be a contributing factor," said Andy Riley, fire chief at the Dandridge Fire Department. "The amount of rain we've had in the Dandridge area alone could be a contributing factor," said Andy Riley, fire chief at the Dandridge Fire Department.
"We will not have kids in here unless we are a 100 percent sure they're safe to be on campus," said Cagle. "We will not have kids in here unless we are a 100 percent sure they're safe to be on campus," said Cagle.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) – A portion of Jefferson County High School collapsed Sunday.

The collapse occurred around 12:30 p.m. in a section of the school called Building 8.

John Cagle, the school's assistant principal, tells 6 News that Building 8 contained the vocational and drama departments.

The nearly 40-year-old campus was closed at the time and no one was inside, according to Cagle.

"We will not have kids in here unless it's 100 percent sure it's safe to be on campus," Cagle said.

Firefighters are working to determine the cause of the collapse.

"The amount of rain we've had in the Dandridge area alone could be a contributing factor," said Andy Riley, fire chief at the Dandridge Fire Department.  

The building that collapsed will likely need to be demolished, according to the fire chief.

A Dandridge man told 6 News he was the one who called 911 after watching the roof collapse on his drive home from church.

"It looked like something out of a movie or something with just the devastation of the roof collapsing," T Jay Harrison said. "Just this big cloud of dust and debris and water going everywhere."

In 2010, Jefferson County commissioners approved $64 million dollars in funding to renovate Jefferson County High School along with several other schools and build a new high school.

That funding was approved to alleviate overcrowding and structural problems such as holes in the ceiling, a leaking roof, and mold in some of the classrooms. 

"The mold is terrible in some classrooms, stuff will leak on to your desk from the ceiling sometimes," said student Daniel Riffe in 2010.

His mom, Linda Riffe, was worried about Daniel's health.

"I've had him at the doctor a lot this year for his allergies. I'd like to see something done," said Thomas.

Building 8, the collapsed section of the high school, was not under renovation, according to the Dandridge Fire Department. 

A Knoxville rescue team is taking over the investigation because they have people that specialize in collapses.

The fire chief says the school has never experienced anything like this before.

School officials tell 6 News no employees will be allowed on campus till further notice.

"We will not have kids in here unless we are 100 percent sure they're safe to be on campus," said Cagle.

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