Fire At a Lufkin School

The Lufkin Fire Department had its hands full today with a fire at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. The fire was made worse by the fact that there were students at the church's school when it happened.

"The very first thing that happened was our P.E. coach noticed some smoke. He was outside with the P.E. class. He saw some smoke so he quickly pulled the fire alarm so everyone would evacuate," St. Patrick's Catholic School Principal Steve Coryell told us.

"They did a really good job. We've practiced fire drills a couple times this year and they did exactly what they were supposed to. They lined up, came out here to the tree line where they were supposed to, got in line by grade and did a really good, quick job of evacuating," said Russell Williams, the P. E. coach who saw the smoke first.

The fire started in a building on the church grounds adjacent to the classrooms. Fire investigators are still uncertain exactly how the fire started but suspect it had something to do with the building's heating system.

"The origin of it was in the ceiling somewhere. We haven't exactly determined the point of origin but it's somewhere in the ceiling and that's basically where we extinguished it," said Lufkin Fire Department Battalion Chief David Cross.

All students in adjacent buildings were evacuated and no one was hurt. Firefighters and teachers were thankful that the fire was put out before it spread to any classrooms.

"You can replace a building but you can't replace a kid," said Williams.