Rags combust in Wadsworth High, forces school to close



Three fire trucks from the Wadsworth Fire Department arrived at Wadsworth High School after the fire alarms were set off at 3:20 a.m. Rags used by shop students had combusted, creating the smoke that set the fire alarms off. 

Because of the smoke, Wadsworth High School was forced to close on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

“There was no fire in the building, it was just a smoke issue here inside the building itself,” said Chris Sieber, Wadsworth High School’s Assistant Principal.

As soon as the alarms went off, the alarm company called the fire department and administration to notify them of the emergency. 

Nobody was in the building at the time. 

“[Mr. Sieber] was the administrator that initially got the call and was the one that showed up at the building around the same time the fire department was,” said Wadsworth Superintendent Dr. Andrew Hill. 

The smoke was in the shop classroom, the 1400 hallway, and the technology office, but created an odor throughout the school. Sieber compared the spread of the odor to baby powder being thrown in the air and coming down. It slowly went everywhere.

“It was a matter of having to clean the remnants of the smoke,” Sieber said. 

The back area of the woodshop classroom and the technology office suffered smoke damage, although Dr. Hill shared that the meaning of this phrase has not been clearly determined yet.

The company Servpro came to clean and get the odor out of the hallways today, which was why the school had to be closed. Servpro is still in the process of cleaning the other affected areas. 

“The main hallway on the first floor and a couple of the academic wings around it had a really strong odor this morning that we just weren’t comfortable with having students and staff come to the building while we worked through that,” Dr. Hill said. 

As stated in Dr. Hill’s message that was sent out in the morning, there was no damage from flames or water since the sprinklers never went off. The main problem was the odor and soot left from the smoke.

Both Mr. Sieber and Dr. Hill appreciated the great job done by the fire department and custodial staff. Dr. Hill highlighted the work Mr. Sieber did in contacting him and arriving at the building so quickly. 

“A great job by the fire department and by our maintenance staff, our custodial staff, we are fortunate to have a lot of good people working with us,” Sieber said. 

Wadsworth High School is scheduled to reopen for a normal school day on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.