Williamsport Middle School Evacuated After Fire

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WILLIAMSPORT -- A school in Lycoming County was evacuated Thursday morning because of a fire in a bath room.

According to school officials, a small fire was discovered in a bathroom of the Williamsport Area Middle School around 8:30 a.m.

People in the school district service center and the middle school were taken to the Jackson Primary School while the fire was put out and the building was ventilated.

No one was hurt.

Firefighters and police were called to the Williamsport Area Middle School after a fire in a bathroom forced an evacuation and then, an investigation.

This is the same middle school that underwent a multi-million dollar renovation project and reopened just this school year. Now, the smoke damage from the fire needs to be taken care of, said school officials.

"The bathroom and the hallways have been sealed off. There was a cleanup crew on site right now and they're doing clean up work," said Greg Hayes, director of public relations for the district.

The fire was started in a second floor bathroom stall around 8:30 a.m. For more than an hour, students faculty and staff had to go to a nearby elementary school until everything was safe and clear at the middle school.

"We were in class and we smelled it so we had to go to Jackson," said eighth grader Khalea Turner. "Burning plastic is what it smelled like."

Hours after the fire police took a student into custody. He's accused of setting a toilet paper dispenser on fire and causing thousands of dollars in damage to the bathroom and nearby areas.

The fire left students and families on edge.

"It was a little scary since my sister goes here, and we didn't know what caused it," said Ashley Miller whose sister is in seventh grade.

"It was complicated because the teachers were scared when it happened," said seventh grader Justin VanBuskirk.

School district officials in Williamsport said it could be a couple of days until classes are back to normal at the middle school.

For now, any classes affected are being held in other parts of that newly renovated school.