According to Karen Tucker with Limestone County Schools, the Board of Education had an emergency meeting Tuesday night to declare an emergency at West Limestone High School. The board also approved repairing the damage to the school after a fire in the cafeteria on Sunday, November 4th.
Tucker said the fire started in the compressor of the ice machine in the cafeteria and set off the alarm. A basketball coach heard the alarm and called the principal who went to turn off the alarm. When the principal came in, he smelled smoke. When he went into the lunch room, it was filled with smoke and soot.
The fire department responded to the school within minutes. The fire caused extensive smoke damage. The entire cafeteria needed to be cleaned and the ceiling tiles removed. Now, the cafeteria and kitchen areas are unusable by staff and students. The board is taking emergency action to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Until the work is complete, which could take a week or more, the kitchen staff is cooking meals at Sugar Creek Elementary and driving the food to West Limestone High School. Students are eating in their classrooms.
“Their workers, when they get here, it’s new to them, because they don’t know our equipment and how it works, so we have to show them and kind of help them to get things ready, so we’ve all just kind of learned to work together," said Sugar Creek Elementary School's cafeteria manager, Pam Griggs.
The lunchroom staff from West Limestone High School is temporarily joining forces with the staff at Sugar Creek Elementary after a fire broke out in an ice machine in their cafeteria over the weekend.
“Whatever they’re having for lunch that day, they bring it with them and we all get together and try to get it all fixed, so we can get everybody fed," Griggs said. "Gotta feed the kids. That’s most important.”
The fire has caused a bit of an inconvenience as students at the high school are having to eat in their classrooms and the menus are pretty limited.
“There’s no way they could’ve done chicken stew or lasagna today because there’s just more to it than that," Griggs said.
But while the crews may be bumping elbows and the freezers are full, Sugar Creek's cafeteria manager says they’re all making the best of it.
“There’s always a bump in the road, but we always get over," Griggs said.
School officials say the lunchroom should be back open to students and staff in just a couple of weeks.