Lisbon Elementary To Reopen After Fire

January 06, 1991

The 486 students of Lisbon Elementary School are scheduled to go back to school tomorrow, after a New Year's Eve fire forced school officials to extend the children's winter holiday last week.

Atholton Elementary School, which closed Wednesday morning when a problem developed with the school's heating system, was back in operation the following day, reported Patti P. Vierkant, public information officer forthe county school system.

She said the heating unit failure was apparently caused by a short circuit in the electrical system.

"We're 95 percent sure (Lisbon) school will reopen Monday," Vierkant said Friday. "The building is cleaned, the boilers are working and they're running on generators for electricity."

She said it may take several months to replace switches in an electrical panel that was damaged when a transformer exploded inside the school's mechanical room, igniting the fire. Meanwhile, generators will supply power.

Volunteer firefighters from Lisbon, West Friendship and Mount Airy responded to the school at 15901 Frederick Road after a neighbor reported the fire about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 31. The fire was extinguished in about 45 minutes.

Battalion ChiefDonald R. Howell of the County Fire Administrator's Office said the fire did not appear to be of suspicious origin, although the State Fire Marshal's office was called in to investigate as a routine procedure.

Fire damage was estimated at $85,000.

School system custodial and maintenance workers spent the remainder of the week washing ceilings and cleaning carpets to get soot and odors out of the Lisbon school building. Robert Harrison, manager of custodial services, said an average of 24 workers a day were assigned to the cleanup.

"There was enough soot" in the school kitchen and auditorium the morning after the fire "you could write your name in it," Howell said.

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