Shawnee Mission South students dismissed early due to smoke in building

By Kera Mashek and Stephanie Graflage
FOX 4 – August 16, 2018

The school year at Shawnee Mission South is off to an unexpected hot start. Classes were dismissed early Wednesday, after smoke filled the building.

It was a sudden disruption in the middle of a busy school day.

“We were like, ‘What’s that? Smoke?'” said student Carlos Ramos.

Students on the top floor said it got extremely hot, then smoke started filling their classrooms.

“It was a lot foggier in the top floor and it was harder to breathe,” said Ramos.

Within seconds, the fire alarms were sounding and students ordered to evacuate.

“They were like, ‘This is not a drill,'” said student Della Beckstrom.

“But once they said that, everyone started running, acting crazy,” said student Jordan Finell.

The Overland Park Fire Department says construction workers were using hot tar and a torch, when roofing material caught fire. The work was being done near the HVAC unit, quickly sending smoke through the air vents throughout the building.

“I was just thinking, what are my plans, how am I going to get my daughter out of there, and how am I going to keep her safe and keep her calm,” said Della’s mom, Holly Beckstrom.

The school district decided to play it safe and dismissed school early, so the smoke could clear from the building completely. Parents and students are thankful it wasn’t more serious.

“Just praising the Lord and grateful she was cognizant to call me right away. And I’m grateful the schools got it under control,” Beckstrom said.

The school plans to replace all the air conditioning filters so students and staff can breathe easy when classes resume Thursday.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page
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