Richmond Drive Elementary fire started at construction site, no injuries reported

- It was an hour before the final bell at Richmond Drive Elementary School, when students made an early exit after fire alarms began sounding.

"There was a lot of smoke and then it changed quickly from a dark smoke to a light smoke and then it went away," said parent, Brian Kloman, who saw the smoke rising from his office a few blocks away.

Firefighters believe the fire started near a construction site on school grounds. The thick black smoke began to rage when tar and other roofing materials started to burn. While damage was limited to an unoccupied area of the school, parents like Brian Kloman initially felt uneasy when he saw emergency crews at the school.

"Honestly I did.  There was a lot of emotions right then," said Kloman.

Firefighters say they did extinguish the blaze quickly and everyone was able to get out of the building safely because of drills they practice nearly every month. Police say the evacuation was flawless, but there was one issue that could have hampered efforts.

"There was some parents who got their students before the teachers or police officers knew it so then we have to spend hours trying to see whose got who," said Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Parents picking up children directly from the school caused confusion for teachers who were trying to bus students to another nearby location to be picked up. Police say a similar evacuation plan is in place for emergencies at all schools.

"If there is an incident at a school just remember emergency services has your children and we will get you with your children as soon as we can and at the scene is not the place," said Bollinger.

Rock Hill school leaders say a quick response by firefighters possibly limited damage to only one classroom.

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