Quick-thinking teacher, firefighters work to fight school fire
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- There were some tense moments at Bradley Central High School Thursday afternoon, after a fire broke out in one of the classrooms.
The school was evacuated and there were no serious injuries.
Channel 3 is learning it could have been much worse had it not been for the actions of a quick-thinking teacher.
Bradley Central High School cabinetry instructor Paul Shull says his first reaction was to put out the flames before it got worse.
It happened minutes before dismissal
"I noticed that a fan had stopped and had made a popping noise," Shull says. "I went to turn the power off, and when I looked up there was fire there. I went and grabbed the extinguishers and started spraying, went through about four fire extinguishers."
Shull burned his hand trying to get the flames out.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and had things under control in about ten minutes.
Though the fire was small and quickly contained, about 1,400 students had to evacuate.
The school's baseball team was practicing on the field when the fire started.
"We didn't know what was happening," baseball player, Chandler Duggan says.
"We just thought it was smoke coming out from a fan, but you know, we just didn't know," Duggan adds. "Then we saw the flames and we're like 'oh, that's not good'. We thought it was in one of the classrooms at first."
School officials say the students, staff and emergency crews were well prepared thanks to fire drills.
"Everything went according to plan, and it worked real smoothly," Scotty Hernandez, with Cleveland City Schools, says. "And at the end of the day, minimal property damage, and nobody got hurt. Just a small little burn, it was nothing to jump up and down about too bad."
And as for Shull, he says, Thursday was another reminder of why it pays to be prepared.
"We've been through safety and different things," Shull says. "And I teach safety as well. I teach my kids how to use fire extinguishers."
After Thursday, he says, his students can expect a refresher safety lesson in the near future.
The Cleveland City Fire Department is still investigating the cause, but school officials believe it started in a duct in the cabinetry room.
Damage was mostly kept to that area and the roof above it.