Teacher and Firefighters Save Ballard County School From Burning

Heartland firefighters have had a busy weekend. 

In Western Kentucky, crews from Barlow and La Center were called to the Ballard Memorial High School, where fire broke out shortly before eleven on Sunday morning.  But firefighters say the blaze could've been much worse.

“Most of the damage was confined to this one room,” La Center Rural Fire Chief Mark Claxton pointed out on Sunday afternoon.  Teacher Tammy Moynahan’s geometry classroom is indeed in bad shape.  The books are burnt. The ceiling is on the floor. And everything is a sooty, grimy mess.  “The room was involved mostly with smoke, not a whole lot of fire,” Claxton explained.  “We took hose line and put out the fire very quickly.”

Claxton was one of about 25 firefighters who responded to the high school.  He says if the blaze had spread outside that classroom and down the hall, it could have done a lot more damage.  It didn't, thanks to quick-thinking teacher Michael Crawford.

“He was going to be off on Monday, so he came down about nine o’clock this morning to get his lesson plans ready,” explained H.S. Principal Sharon Reeves.  “Everything was fine when he came in. He came back to the front of the building and he smelled smoke and saw smoke boiling out of the classroom, so he got on the phone. We're just glad he was here!”  Claxton added that the teacher also pulled the classroom door shut, which was smart thinking.  “If he had not kept the door closed and kept the heat and smoke to this one room, I’m sure it would've spread to the adjacent rooms,” he declared.  “He’s a hero!”

Firefighters seem fairly sure that the blaze started in the back corner of the geometry classroom. But until the Kentucky State Fire Marshall finishes his inspection, they're not sure what caused the fire.  Right now, they say they don't suspect arson…just bad luck that could've been worse.

Claxton says he’s just glad they were able to do their part to keep Ballard County kids in school.  “Oh, I’m sure all those kids, including my daughter, will be very happy,” he chuckled.  Principal Reeves was all smiles.  “We have got some wonderful people here in Ballard County. They all get together and help whoever is in need, we were in need this morning!  They kept our school from being burnt!”

Ballard Memorial High School students will have classes as usual on Monday.