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Monday, December 3, 2012

Gaywood Elementary School Fire

At about 9:15 am firefighters were dispatched to investigate smoke in the area of the boiler room of the Gaywood Elementary School in Lanham.

The first arriving engine from the West Lanham Hills Fire/EMS Station arrived and reported smoke showing from the one-story educational building at 6701 97th Avenue.

As firefighters searched for the source of the smoke the school had conducted and completed an orderly evacuation of all students and staff from the building.

A fire was soon located in the roof assembly above the boiler room. It appears the natural gas fed boiler malfunctioned and overheated. The heat from the exhaust pipe was so hot it ignited insulation in the ceiling/roof area. Firefighters initiated a work intensive operation to remove the roof from above and ceiling area from below the boiler room. After about 15 minutes firefighters were able to access the area on fire and extinguish it. The electricity and gas service was shut off to the school.

Students were moved to DuVall High School to complete their school day. Students that go home by bus will catch their bus at the high school at normal dismissal time. Students that walk home from Gaywood ES will be transported back and dismissed at their normal dismissal time. There is no need for parents to report to either school.

Work has begun to overhaul and clean-up the damaged boiler room area. Parents should await word from the school concerning Tuesdays status.

The cause of the fire is accidental and attributed to a malfunctioning furnace. Fire loss is estimated at $15,000. No injuries were reported.

Mark Brady

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