Electrical short blamed for fire at Zippel Elementary

10 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An electrical short was determined to be the cause of a kitchen fire at Zippel Elementary School on Friday.

“The fire was called in at 10:36 a.m. on Jan. 17. The initial call from Penobscot dispatch indicated it was at the high school but was later corrected to indicate it was a kitchen fire at Zippel. Staff was able to extinguish the fire prior to our arrival,” said Captain Vince Baldin, of the Presque Isle Fire Department. “Fortunately the two schools are next door to each other, so we didn’t have far to go. Had it been mistakenly reported at one of the other schools, it might have been a bigger issue.”
Baldwin indicated the fire occurred when a steamer shorted out.
“The kitchen staff saw the fire. Kevin Lajoie, who works at the school, grabbed a fire extinguisher and put it out,” said Baldwin.
Three fire trucks and 11 firefighters responded to the call.
Baldwin said damage was limited to the steamer and food that was being prepared in the kitchen for students’ lunch.
“The kitchen staff had to throw away what was out and exposed to the spray from the fire extinguisher. Some of the day’s lunch was safe to eat because it was stored in an enclosed unit. There was no damage to the building,” said Baldwin.
Since the fire involved a facility where food is prepared, the health inspector had to give clearance before the kitchen could reopen to serve lunch.
“Fortunately Greg Day, of the Fire Marshal’s Office, and Don McAllister, the state’s health officer, were in Presque Isle and actually arrived on scene the same time as the fire department. They were able to investigate and provide information on how to clean up the area, so lunch could be prepared for the students,” Baldwin said.
Lunch was delayed by about a half hour as a result of the fire.
“Staff did their job. They kept the kids safe and prevented the fire from spreading,” said Baldwin.