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Cooler fire prompts SEB High School evacuation
Minimal damage reported, no injuries

Southeast Bulloch High School was evacuated of students, teachers and staff for a portion of Friday morning because of a fire in a soft drink cooler in the school’s main gym.

The refrigerated, upright storage cooler began emitting smoke and flames at approximately 9:30 a.m. A fire alarm was activated, and students were evacuated immediately from the building to Fred Shaver Field, reported Hayley Greene, public relations specialist for Bulloch County Schools.

A call to 911 resulted in a rapid response by Bulloch County Fire Department personnel, and meanwhile SEBHS Principal Stephen Hoyle used a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. He also unplugged the machine and cut power to the unit at the breaker, Greene said.

The fire caused smoke to accumulate in the main gym and main lobby area, but the school system’s maintenance personnel used fans to remove the smoke from the building.

All students remained outside the building until Fire Department personnel issued an all-clear at 10:25 a.m.

SEB High School’s food service personnel prepared an alternate sack lunch for students Friday. The kitchen was not affected by the fire, but food service personnel also had to evacuate, and the schools always keep sack lunch items available for when an emergency disrupts meal preparation, Greene said.

Students were returned to their classrooms and classes resumed. The gym remained closed for the day, with physical education classes moved outside.

School is out for spring break all next week, and maintenance personnel will assess the need for any repairs.

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