Teacher helps put out fire at Dickinson College

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When the fire alarms went off, technology teacher Todd Selle saw the flames inside the classroom as he walked past. He quickly grabbed the nearest extinguisher and managed to extinguish the fire. At the same time as he was fighting the relatively small blaze, he called his brother, Dickinson’s Deputy Fire Chief Mark Selle, directly around the same time the Dickinson Fire Department got the call. dispatch for school service at 1:29 p.m.

Six DFD staff arrived at the scene within a minute, but by then all the students had been evacuated from the school and the fire was already largely extinguished.

“He basically put out the fire on his own,” Selle said. “… (There was) just smoldering paper.” We showed up and took out the stove and put out the remaining embers, and that’s about it.

After the firefighters removed the stove, and guilty of the blaze, they ventilated the building. The only real damage to the stove came in the form of melted plastic. The ventilation lasted for about 15 minutes before school and firefighter staff allowed the students to return to class.

Firefighters remained on site for about 30 minutes in total.

“The students obviously left the building immediately the moment the guns went off. They did a great job getting them out. Todd had no students at the time so he was very knowledgeable and able to go in and use the extinguisher that was inside and put out the fire, ”Selle said. “It was very close to triggering the sprinkler system in the building due to its size and location. It got very close and he saved a lot of damage by knowing how to use a fire extinguisher and put out that fire.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but according to the Fire Marshal, the classroom was not occupied when the fire broke out.

“(The stove) has ignited or has been left on. We couldn’t figure out how, as they haven’t cooked on this stove for quite some time. The classroom wasn’t even in use that day, so we just don’t know how that stove was lit, ”he noted.

The small fire resulted in the loss of a stove and only caused minor sooty damage to some areas of the walls and counters, Selle said, adding that the classroom should return to normal with a bit of cleaning.

“The public school staff were working hard when we left and they will probably have cleaned it up by the end of the day. They were working really hard, ”he said.

With quick responses from school staff and students, Selle said it was a job well done given that most local schools hold safety drills once a month.

“We had probably one of the best arrivals that I think we have ever had at the scene of the fire. All the children were cheering us on, so they were very happy to see us. I don’t know if they were happy to have left school (or) happy to see the firefighters, but it was a unique greeting, I guess, ”he said with a chuckle.


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