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IHS fire cleanup going ‘smoothly’

A near-50-person crew hired by an insurance agency is currently cleaning the damage caused by a recent fire at Isabella High School.

Principal Ricky Porter said the crew is “gutting” the building, including removing ceiling tiles, wiring and other items affected by smoke. All student desks and tables were also removed from the K-3 building to be wiped down with a special cleaning agent. They are currently being stored in the cafeteria.

The crew wiped down everything in the reading room and any other room damaged by the fire. They are cleaning salvageable items, such as books, bookcases, walls, desks and computers.

Rugs and curtains were also removed and sent off for cleaning.

Porter said the cleanup should conclude by the end of this week, after which they will spend the next two weeks reinstalling ceiling tiles, insulation, wiring and other electrical parts to the rooms. They will also re-paint the classrooms and hallways closest to the fire.

The entire cleaning and renovation process should finish by mid-July, Porter said, just a couple of weeks before school starts.

“Everything is running very smoothly,” Porter said. “We hope to start school as smoothly as possible and go on as if it had never happened.”

An air-conditioning unit caught fire in the K-3 building on June 5, creating smoke and soot damage throughout the structure. The reading resource room and an adjoining bathroom were heavily damaged.

A custodian discovered the thick black soot covering the rooms early the following Monday at approximately 7 a.m.

Porter said a teacher went to the school Saturday evening and discovered the high school’s smoke alarms sounding off. The teacher called a custodian who then came to the school to turn off the alarms after the two did not see or smell any signs of a fire in the high school.