Small fire causes evacuation at Baker Early Learning Center

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A small fire in a restroom forced staff at the Baker Early Learning Center to evacuate students this morning (Jan. 10). No one was injured, and the fire was quickly extinguished.

What appears to be an electrical fire started just after 10 a.m. at the center, which is run by the InterMountain Education Service District (IMESD). Staff reported an “electrical smell” before locating the source in the bathroom. The three on-site staff members quickly ushered the eight students in the building at time next door to the Union-Baker Head Start building, where staff there provided a classroom for them to stay in. Parents were then notified and were able to pick up their children from the Head Start building.

The Baker City Fire Department responded within minutes and shut off all power to the building. Power will not be restored until an electrician can conduct an inspection. IMESD Facilities Director Scott Rogers said an electrician is expected to be on-site this afternoon. The installed smoke detectors did sound, staff reported.

An afternoon speech class at the Baker Early Learning Center has been relocated to the Union-Baker Head Start building for today, said Ami Muilenburg, IMESD Special Education Director for the Baker area. Since damage to the restroom was minor – with no smoke damage reported – classes are expected to resume at the Baker Early Learning Center as scheduled on Tuesday.

Karla Macy, a teacher in the Baker Early Learning Center, said staff have practiced fire safety and evacuations, which led to a smooth response to this morning’s fire.

“It was amazing how quickly everyone jumped into action and how smooth it all went,” she said.

Muilenburg expressed appreciation for those involved.

“I’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to the Union-Baker Head Start staff for taking our staff and students in this morning and providing support,” Muilenburg said. “I also want to thank our Early Learning Center staff for an exemplary job in getting the kids out of the building safely and calmly.”

The IMESD leases the Baker Early Learning Center building from Union-Baker Head Start.


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