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Small Fire at Gunning Bedford Middle School
Thursday, January 25, 2024

On January 25, 2024 at 2:30pm, Delaware City Fire Company was dispatched to Gunning Bedford Middle School - Colonial School District for a fire alarm. As Delaware City units responded, additional calls reported a fire in the kitchen upgrading the response. Units arrived to find a dish washing machine on fire in the kitchen on the C side of the building. All students and staff had calmly and safely evacuated thanks to annual required fire drills and an ABC fire extinguisher had been applied to the fire by staff prior to exiting the building. Quint 15 arrived on the C-side, established their own water supply, and deployed a handline to attack the fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and power was secured to the unit. There was, however, a significant amount smoke throughout the building. After consultation with school leadership and for the safety of students and staff, the decision was made to have early dismissal with students proceeding directly to the buses. This provided fire department personnel time to evacuate smoke from the building with Positive Pressure Ventilation fans. The incident was placed under control within 10 minutes of fire department arriving on scene but crews remained on scene for over an hour assisting with ventilation. The Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office responded and investigated the fire and Assistant Chief Sands had Delaware City Command. Thank you to Odessa and Good Will for covering the area during the incident.

We want to commend Principal Bill Johnston and the rest of the staff for their calm handling of the situation and excellent coordination with us which successfully prevented any injuries as well as more serious damage. Parents and students will be contacted by school staff with information about how to retrieve their personal items

Responding Departments:
Delaware City Fire Company
Port Penn Volunteer Fire Company
Christiana Fire
Good Will Fire Company
Wilmington Manor Fire Company
Odessa Fire Company
Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office

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