On Sunday, Jan. 27, smoked filled the sky in Chickasha, leaving so many questions unanswered after the old Chickasha Intermediate School burned down. A week later, the picture has become more clear, but investigation into the fire is still on-going, according to the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal.

It all began when a group of underage children went to play around near the gym of the school. According to reports, the children decided to light something on fire in that area and thought they had put it out before they left.

Instead, the fire continued to burn after the children left and it had plenty of time to grow before anyone knew bout the fire. The fire was called in at approximately 2:19 p.m. and the Chickasha Fire Department reported to the scene at 2:21 to begin putting out the fire.

Attempts to completely extinguish the fire lasted for hours.

According to Chickasha Fire Department Deputy Chief Brian Zalewski, they had someone on the scene for 36 hours to try and extinguish the fire.

“With the high winds, something like that needs aerial access,” he said. “Because of the winds, we were unable to actually get water on the fire for a while.”

Zalewski said that the fire was properly extinguished around 1 a.m. Monday morning, but members of the crew remained on the scene until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning to try and keep the fire from starting again.

Other than the strong winds, another problem the fire crews had to deal with was the wood that made up the school.

“The overall age of the wood was also a big factor,” said Zalewski.

The first wing of the school was built in 1916 and the final wing was finished in 1956. Not much work had been done to building since the 1970’s. After the school closed down in May of 2002, the buildings were used as a storage area for old school supplies such as books, desks and computers.

Jim Glaze, superintendent of Chickasha Public Schools, said that they kept new lockers, tables, chairs and air units in the buildings as well.

When the fire began, it is likely that it didn’t take long to spread because of the age of the wood in the buildings and all of the school supplies being stored in them.

On Jan. 29, the Board of Education voted to have the remaining portions of the school demolished to prevent any accidents from falling debris.

Glaze said that once the demolition is done, they will have to wait and get approval to have the debris hauled away.

“There are a lot of rules and regulations we have to follow before we can start moving the debris away,” he said.

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