Langston Chapel Elementary School and Langston Chapel Middle were both evacuated Friday
afternoon after an air unit behind the elementary school’s fifth-grade wing caught fire. There
were no injuries reported, and the affected classrooms at LCES sustained only minor smoke
damage. Students were able to return to class within 40 minutes. Langston Elementary and
Langston Middle are on neighboring campuses and are connected by a shared kitchen, so fire
alarms were triggered at both schools.
According to LCES Principal Shawn Haralson, fifth-grade students were starting to transition
back to class after lunch. A teacher came to one of the empty classrooms and smelled smoke. She alerted the office via radio. The assistant principal and principal reported to the area. They witnessed smoke beginning to fill a classroom, pulled the fire alarm, and contacted 911. Students were evacuated to the front and rear of the building.
Public safety personnel were on the scene within minutes to respond to the fire, close Langston Chapel Road, set up a staging area for parents and aid faculty in ensuring student safety. Upon further inspection by Haralson and fire fighters, it was found that a motor in an air unit at the back of LCES’s fifth-grade wing was pouring smoke and shooting flames.
Fire fighters extinguished the fire, confirmed the building’s safety, and after approximately 40 minutes, they gave the all clear for faculty and students to return to both buildings.
“This was absolutely the best emergency placement of personnel that I’ve ever seen,” Haralson said as he expressed appreciation to fire department, sheriff’s department and Georgia State
Patrol units that responded so quickly.
LCES’s fifth-grade wing consists of four classrooms. The wing was closed for the remainder of
the school day. Administrators temporarily relocated fifth-grade classes to the Langston Middle
School gymnasium, which has bleacher seating.
The classrooms only sustained smoke damage and no structural damage. Clean-up crews are
already on site cleaning and the rooms will be open for students on Monday. LCES’s technology
liaison has inspected all of the technology equipment, and there was no damage.
All of Bulloch County Schools’ campuses practice fire evacuation procedures monthly.