DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — School officials in Jefferson County are working to determine when to resume classes at Dandridge Elementary School after a fire in a bathroom stall forced students to evacuate early Monday morning.
Students were entering the building around 8 a.m. when a staff member noticed a student exit a bathroom in the 2nd grade hallway and smelled smoke shortly thereafter. The staff member entered the restroom to find smoke in the air and a fire that had spread from toilet paper in a stall to the plastic molding that holds the paper and onto one of the partition walls.
The building was evacuated and one staff member used a portable fire extinguisher to try to contain the fire. Students were taken to the nearby Jefferson County Justice Center where buses were sent to take children back home and parents could pick up their children directly.
A Jefferson County Schools release stated that a student had set fire to the toilet paper inside the stall. The student has been disciplined and will not be on campus for the balance of the first semester.
A decision on resuming class at the school will be made Monday evening after crews provide a timeframe for when cleanup and repairs will be completed.
“We are grateful that no one was injured in today’s fire. The entire Dandridge Elementary faculty and staff did an amazing job of responding to this situation and took great care of each child. The response from all the emergency agencies was impressive and greatly appreciated. We also would like to thank Sheriff Jeff Coffey and all the various offices associated with the Jefferson County Justice Center for opening their doors to keep our students warm and safe. Using this building for a reunification center worked well and everyone’s efforts to help our teachers and students is greatly appreciated.”Jefferson County Director of Schools Shane Johnston