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Fire at Pine Grove
Welding Work During Renovation Resulted in Insulation Catching Fire
December 21, 2018
On Friday, November 30, a fire on the roof of the south wing of Pine Grove Elementary School was sparked while welding work was being done before the school day began.
The building itself was not damaged by the fire, as it was only the temporary insulation which caught fire.
Ipswich, Newbury, and Georgetown fire departments responded to the call; however, the fire was contained by the detail firefighter who was on site when the fire ignited.
“This is a perfect example of why it is so important to have fire details at construction sites where welding or use of an open flame is being done,” Chief James Broderick said. “Our detail firefighter was able to quickly alert the department that the fire was ongoing and helped to contain the flames while we were on our way to the school.”
After the fire was put out, safety precautions were still followed to ensure that the building was cleared. All of the classrooms were checked and deemed to have no evidence of smoke or damage.
When students arrived on their busses, they were kept on board the busses in the parking lot of St. Mary’s Church.
“The kids were so well adapted, they went back to the regular routine, didn’t ask any questions, didn’t mess up their routine. It really didn’t affect them at all, it was pretty amazing that they just went with the flow,” said first grade teacher, Lisa Manganello.
Everybody who was in the school at the time of the fire were able to properly exit when the fire alarm when off. The only individual who it affected was the construction worker who experienced smoke inhalation, but was taken care of by the Action Ambulance EMT.
“When the fire alarm went off, the kids weren’t there yet, so we had to evacuate the building. About twenty minutes into it, that’s when the kids arrived on the bus and they were told to go to St. Mary’s,” said Manganello.
The school was later reopened at the 9:45 a.m. after being cleared by the firemen on the scene.
Following the end of the school day, students who could not go home right away attended Kid’s Club where they would be watched over by teachers and 18-year-old Amanda Manganello, daughter of Lisa Manganello, who works part-time at Pine Grove Elementary.
“The kids were surprisingly well behaved considering what had happened in the morning. I didn’t really know all the details when I arrived for work, but if the teachers hadn’t informed me I would have had no clue,” said Amanda Manganello.
Due to the nature of the fire, there was no damage to the actual building.
“When you do a project like this, a $39 million project, which costs a lot of money, you make sure that the contractors are licensed and insured. Even if there was massive damage, that would not be covered by our insurance, but by the insurance of the company which is doing the work,” said Superintendent Brian Forget.
Forget spoke about the aftermath of the event: “We do not anticipate any further disruption because of this event, but will be in touch if any details do change. The safety of our students and staff are a top priority so I thank you for your patience and understanding.”