Bathroom fire causes evacuation at a Sherman middle school

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SHERMAN, TX -- Just after noon on Thursday, around 900 students evacuated Piner Middle School, after officials found a trash can fire in a bathroom.

Principal Clinton Petty said an employee alerted him to the fire.

"I found a plunger, turned it upside down, and filled it with water from the sink," he said.

Another employee grabbed a fire extinguisher and had the fire out by the time firefighters arrived, he said.

"Their main concern was to make sure the fire was extinguished, so they checked out the trash can. We did move that outside," Petty said. "At that point their main concern was trying to deal with the smoke, so they used ventilation and exhaust fans to remove the smoke from the school."

School officials praise the faculty and students for the quick, efficient response to the evacuation.

"The students reacted just like they normally do," Petty said. "We practice fire drills on a monthly basis, and they did an excellent job exiting the building."

Students returned to class around 1 p.m. - after a 40 minute evacuation.

Sherman Fire Dept. Batallion Chief Bill Macon said the school did a great job in responding to the incident.

"They followed their emergency procedures, they met us here, told us all of their students have been accounted for," he said. "Everything was very smooth from our stand point."

Petty said while it was a brief scare, everyone is fine.

"The students were at no point in any danger. It was a small fire in the trash can," he said. "There was some smoke in the bathroom, but other than that, there was absolutely no danger."

The Sherman fire marshal is investigating the incident.

School officials say if they determine it was caused intentionally, they'll handle the matter according to school disciplinary procedures.

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