Fire at Sandymount Elementary forces school to close; expected to reopen Thursday

A fire in the faculty lounge at Sandymount Elementary School on Wednesday morning forced school officials to close the school for the day, a spokeswoman said.

No injuries were reported. School officials intended to reopen the school, according to a Carroll County Public Schools release, but decided against it when fire officials recommended not reopening Wednesday.

CCPS spokeswoman Carey Gaddis said the school system has every intention of opening Sandymount Elementary on Thursday as scheduled.

The fire was reported to have started in the faculty lounge.

“There was a small stove fire that was extinguished by the custodian with a dry chemical extinguisher,” Reese volunteer fire company Capt. Richard Pratt said.

Reese and Westminster fire companies were dispatched to the school at about 8:30 a.m., Pratt said. The fire caused minimal damage, according to the release, but those inside the building, including students in the before-school care program, were evacuated while smoke was cleared.

Emergency responders worked to determine that the fire had not extended and began ventilating the area, Pratt said. The Glyndon fire company also provided mutual aid.

The evacuated Sandymount students were kept in cars in the parking lot in order to keep warm, according to the release, which also advised that all students were safe. Other students arriving on school buses stayed on their buses.

Students were then bused from the Finksburg school to Shiloh Middle School in Hampstead, about 9 miles away, according to the release.

Students could be taken home from there starting at 11:30 a.m., according to the release, but parents were given the option to pick up their children from the faculty parking lot there. For assistance with picking up a student, the release advised parents to call Shiloh.

Because the missed day was due to an emergency, the school will not be required to make up the day, she said.

Sandymount Elementary previously closed Nov. 26, the first day back for students after Thanksgiving break, and Nov. 27 because of flooding. In that case, a CCPS spokeswoman said at the time, a heating coil in the kitchen burst and spewed water for a “significant amount of time.”

And because of snow-related cancellations, the Board of Education voted in February to add five days to the academic year to make sure the 180-day school year requirement is met.

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