Local News

Robeson County High School Re-Opens Following Fire

Posted September 24, 1998

— Clean-up crews worked through the night so Red Springs High could re-open Friday, after a student started a fire there that caused $400,000 worth of damage.

The 15-year-old freshman responsible for the fire has been charged with burning a school and is in the Polk Youth Institute in Butner.

Smoke damage is extensive throughout the building where the fire started. Officials say flames broke out Thursday in a technology classroom when a male freshman poured alcohol on the floor, then ignited it with a cigarette lighter.

Students were sent home early, while the classroom was gutted by the fire. The building, and computer equipment inside the classroom, were destroyed. The room remained closed Friday, but classes were held as scheduled in other parts of the building.

In the hallways, students were talking about their scary experiences. Senior Elaina Locklear was across the hall when the fire started.

"All you could see was smoke. People were running out, jumping out of windows of the classroom," Locklear said.

Teachers talked to students before classes started. "They are to re-emphasize to students safety measures, precautions, things to do and not to do," said school Principal Danny Stedman. The school principal made the lesson a mandated part of the curriculum.

Windows and doors were open in every part of the high school, to get the smell of smoke out of the building. Any students or teachers with asthma or other respiratory problems were being kept far away from where the fire occurred.

The principal says he will recommend suspending the student, but it is up to the School Board to decide if he will be expelled.

School officials say the student was goofing off when he lit the fire. But some students say he has a history of trouble in school and think he set it on purpose. ,Julie Moos


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