Thursday, February 4, 1999

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
A custodian at Farrington High School surveyed damage
done by a fire this morning on the second floor of Building A.

Farrington blaze
hurts firefighter

Dean Spowell was injured when
a classroom's ceiling collapsed on him

By Jaymes K. Song


A firefighter was injured today when a ceiling collapsed on him in a blaze at Farrington High School in Kalihi.

Classes at the school were held nonetheless since the damage was limited to only one building.

Dean Spowell of the Kalihi Kai fire station was injured when he was lugging a hose into the burning classroom, said fire Capt. Paul Gerard. He was pulled out of the building and taken to Kaiser Hospital with a knee injury. He is expected to be released today.

The blaze started at 3:52 a.m. inside Room 216 in Building A, a classroom that had recently been renovated to be a mini-computer lab for special-education students. The fire in the second-floor corner classroom was extinguished in 30 minutes, Gerard said. Six other rooms were damaged by smoke and fire.

Principal Catherine Payne said 15 classes in Building A were relocated to the library, a vacant portable classroom and the auditorium as a precautionary measure.

Fire officials asked school officials not to hold classes in the building because of the strong smell of smoke and possible problems with asbestos.

Lyle Hendricks, who was teaching a freshman class in the large, dim auditorium, said today's scheduled lessons won't be affected much because the students have group projects to work on.

However, Hendricks and other teachers had concerns about the needed books and materials, and the classroom that was damaged by smoke and water.

A cause of the fire has not been determined; however, arson has been tentatively ruled out.

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