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Students praised for reporting classroom fire during school basketball game Monday night

2 months 6 days 9 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 January 28, 2020 7:44 PM January 28, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. AMANT - Firefighters are crediting two students for discovering a fire inside a classroom at Lake Elementary School Monday night.

School security video showed the kids noticing something wrong and alerting adults.  In the video, smoke is eventually seen billowing into the hallway.  Click here to see the video.

St. Amant fire chief James LeBlanc said a single classroom sustained heavy damage, but the fire did not spread.

Classes were canceled Tuesday; The school will resume classes Wednesday. 

The department says the blaze was discovered by two students, Central Middle 8th graders Ashton Reider and Evan Paternostro, during a home basketball game going on nearby.

"I saw the printer on fire and the whole back of the room was getting worse," Paternostro said.

The two alerted school officials before the fire was able to get out of control.

On Tuesday night, Reider and Paternostro were honored for their quick thinking that prevented the flames from spreading. They both received certificates of appreciation from the Ascension Parish School Board. 

"The quick response by these two students saved a lot of devastation to the school," Chief LeBlanc said in a statement. "Remembering their local fire drills performed at their Ascension schools prompted them to move in to action quick, by alerting school officials during the game."

It took crews roughly 15 minutes to get the fire under control. Once the flames were out, firefighters worked to clear smoke from the building after it spread into the attic through the air vents. 

“I’m just glad that we were about to help out, that way it didn’t get worse,” Reider said.

No injuries were reported.

Lake Elementary reopened less than two years ago after being damaged in the 2016 flood.

School information

School officials said first and fifth grade classes are being moved to other areas of campus while contractors make repairs and cleanup smoke damage.

"Our staff had a full day at Lake [Tuesday] making the campus ready for the return of our students," the school system said in a message to parents.  "All students and staff will return to campus [Wednesday] for a full day of teaching and learning."

Fifth grade classrooms have moved to a new building on campus and will stay there until fire damage to the single classroom is repaired; First-grade classes have relocated to the library and elective classrooms where they will remain until the immediate repairs are complete. 

All 1st and 5th grade students are to report to the cafeteria in the morning to meet their teacher who will lead them to the new classrooms.

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