Crews work to clean up fire damage at Southington Middle School

The Southington fire captain says an exhaust fan on the roof malfunctioned and started the fire

Cleanup is underway after the roof of Southington Middle School caught on fire.

SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – A large cleanup effort is underway at Southington Middle School after the roof caught on fire Saturday morning. Crews say repairing the damage should take about two months, and they are working to finish it before school starts in the fall.

“We had a fire in the roof and in this situation, we’re going to have smoke, soot and water damage,” said Project Coordinator Michael Arnold.

Southington Fire Captain Gary Smith says an exhaust fan on the roof malfunctioned and started the fire. It damaged the roof and classrooms underneath it.

“Ceiling tiles were affected so we’re in the process of removing all the ceiling tiles, all the soot damage, water damage, porous material,” Arnold said. “We’re fortunate in this situation, where we have concrete walls. A lot of times it’s dry wall, which you get into some greater losses that way.”

On Tuesday, crews filled garbage bags with insulation and empty trash cans with excess water.

“We set up our drying equipment and it’s just a slow process from here.”

It will probably take five to seven days for everything to dry up.

“We want to make sure that we expedite it as much as possible so we can begin school on time,” Superintendent Rocco Nero said.

This isn’t the first time Nero has dealt with a school fire. When he was at Lowellville, lightning hit the high school roof and started a fire.

“I thought, ‘Deja vu, here we go again.'”

Nero says he is waiting on the fire report. Crews examined everything in the school on Tuesday for an insurance estimate on the damage.

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