Locker room fire sends Wauconda High School students home early
Wauconda High School students were sent home early Thursday after a small electrical fire in a student locker room.
Four school employees who were near the fire were examined by paramedics and one was hospitalized with symptoms that were not considered life threatening. The employee was cleared and returned to work later in the day.
Superintendent Daniel Coles said the fire was discovered by two employees who were near the locker room and smelled smoke. Coles said the fire appeared to be coming from an overhead light. One employee sprayed it with a fire extinguisher and the other pulled the fire alarm.
The Wauconda Fire District was dispatched to the school at 9:57 a.m. By the time firefighters arrived, much of the fire had been dealt with by the employee with fire extinguisher, according to a news release issued by the fire district.
Students and staff were evacuated. After the fire was out, they were allowed back in to the large competition gym on the west side of the school to get out of the cold.
Coles said firefighters had to vent the smoke through one of the school's two cafeterias. Because they could not serve lunch, school officials decided to send students home early.
"It would have been an extremely large hardship for 1,400 kids to have no lunch," Coles said.
Students were dismissed at around 11:30 a.m.
The initial damage estimate from the fire is about $30,000. The personal items that were in the locker room will be cleaned before being returned to students, according to the fire district.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Coles said they had a smoke mitigation company at the school early in the afternoon and they will be open for class on Friday.