Pharos-Tribune managing editor

Where there’s a spark, there’s a lot of smoke.

That was the case Thursday afternoon at Century Career Center when a small fire broke out above one of the three welding labs at around 1:20 p.m.

A spark from some of the welding work being done in the lab landed on a round cylinder in the filtering system and caused a small fire, according to Clark Miller, assistant director at Century. Smoke began coming from the ventilating system into the lab.

The incident was initially noticed and reported by a student, who immediately hit the shut-off valve to the filtering system. Welding instructor Ron Geik contacted the main office to report the fire. Someone else pulled the fire alarm.

“We spend a lot of time on safety, and so the kids reacted well. I commend the faculty and the students for their quick reaction.”

The decision was made to evacuate the entire high school. Initially, students were taken outside to the parking lot to await the arrival of the Logansport Fire Department.

Since it was raining, the LFD advised the administration to take the students into the Berry Bowl, which is the farthest point from the Career Center, Miller said.

While the students sat in the Berry Bowl, firefighters set to ventilating the lab. The job was so large that fans also were brought in from other schools.

“It was just difficult to ventilate those labs. They’re 10,000 square feet each.”

Logansport High School students ended up returning to school for their last-period classes, while the Career Center students stayed put in the Berry Bowl until the end of school.

Preschool students also were in the Career Center at the time and were evacuated to the McHale Performing Arts Center. Each child was paired with a high school student during the wait, Miller said.

“It was just a little bit better environment for those kids.”

The freak incident was unlike anything staff have experienced at the school.

“We’ve been here four years and nothing like this has ever happened,” Miller said.

He expects it to be business as usual come Monday.

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