Small Fire at Wyoming Valley West H.S. Sends Students Home

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PLYMOUTH -- Students were dismissed early from Wyoming Valley West High School in Luzerne County after a fire in the gym.

Students say the fire happened in the gym around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Fire alarms went off and students, teachers, and staff left the school. They were dismissed by 11 a.m.

The students we spoke to say they were initially worried, but they did not smell any smoke in the school. Once they saw pictures of the fire, they didn't think the dismissal was necessary.

"I don't think it was necessary, but I think the officials, they think something is wrong so it was a choice maybe to get out early," said senior Mark Mahalick.

"Everybody is trying to get in and outside of doors and everything, but nobody really knew what was happening until we got outside," senior Michael Rockefeller said.

Students say they were initially worried, but once they saw pictures of the fire, they were relieved it wasn't too damaging.

"It was just a light fixture caught on fire. I mean they're old. It's bound to happen," said senior Greg Johnson.

While the fire wasn't major, the superintendent says the emergency dismissal was necessary because they needed time to take a closer look without students or staff in the building. Just over 1,200 students are enrolled at the school.

"Take a look at, not only the gym, but the overall building, all the electrical units. Take a look at all the smoke detectors. Make sure everything is working properly, and we could not do that if the kids were in school at this time," explained Irvin Deremer, superintendent of Wyoming Valley West School District.

School administrators say gym will be held outside for the rest of the week while inspectors look at replacing some of the lights, some of which are 15 years old.

Now all of this will be talked about at a school board meeting Wednesday night.

"The school board is always, always number one the safety of the kids is in place," Deremer said.

School officials say students will be back at Wyoming Valley West Thursday morning for class.


  • Bill K.

    No reason to take the day off for something as minor as this. I guess since it’s a beautiful day out this is a great excuse to evacuate the entire school and send everyone home. I bet the staff such as janitors and maintenance had to stay at work. Teachers and administrators had to flee the school for their safety though.

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