By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fire evacuates Mattie Lively
No one injured; classes resumed after electrical fire
Mattie photo for Web
The front of Mattie Lively Elementary is shown Wednesday after a small electrical fire caused the school to be evacuated. - photo by Special
    A faulty transformer caused an electrical fire and evacuation at Mattie Lively Elementary School Wednesday morning, but no one was injured and classes resumed as normal after about an hour.
    "We had a little excitement this morning," said Principal Jennifer Herrington as she left the school Wednesday afternoon. "The kids thought it was a regular fire drill."
    Assistant Principal Carolyn Vasilatos was outside the school after bus duty when she noticed sparks in the grass near the school campus, said Bulloch County Board of Education public relations and marketing specialist Hayley Greene.
    Looking closer, Vasilatos noticed a transformer at the northwest corner of the property was "glowing," she said. Vasilatos notified the office and someone called 911, Herrington said.
    Statesboro firefighters arrived at the scene around 7:30 a.m. and contacted Georgia Power authorities, who also responded, Greene said. They inspected the transformer and the school, then left, she said.
    But after  school administrators noticed a "strong electrical odor and smoke coming from a classroom computer," they began emergency fire evacuation procedures and called the Statesboro Fire Department back to the school around 8:10 a.m., she said.
    "A power surge resulting from the malfunctioning transformer caused an electrical short at the computer," Greene said. "School officials unplugged all electrical equipment and shut off all electrical panels to prevent another surge when power was restored."
    Herrington said 12 computers were damaged and will have to be replaced.
    Fortunately, however, no one was hurt and the students all reacted as if the incident was a routine fire drill, she said.
    "They took it all in stride. They didn't panic or get out of control," she said. Teachers were "all very professional and followed all evacuation procedures and kept the children very calm."
    After power was restored and the school passed inspection by firefighters, students returned to class and the day continued "as if it never happened," Herrington said.  Students returned to class around 8:45 a.m. and Georgia Power restored electricity to the school at 9:15 a.m., Greene said.
    "All students, faculty and staff followed the established fire evacuation plan," she said. "Fire evacuations are practiced throughout the year. In fact, the state requires schools to have two such drills within the first 10 days of school."   

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter