TPS school board votes to demolish the Barnard Elementary building

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 9/18/2012 5:18 pm Published: 9/18/2012 3:41 pm

A fire that destroyed a Tulsa school building is raising concerns about the future of other TPS buildings.

The Tulsa Public School board voted to tear down what’s left of the 87-year-old former Barnard Elementary building. TPS has some major safety concerns with the structure right now, and has added a security fence and 24-hour guards to help keep people out of the building.

Gerald Foster is 84-years old. He’s already lived a lifetime and part of it was spent volunteering at the old Barnard Elementary building. Today, he came to reminisce.

"It's difficult to deal with because I wonder what's going to replace it, and I hope it would be something beneficial to the entire neighborhood,” he says.

Not only did he volunteer here but three of his grandchildren attended this school. After fire destroyed the building earlier this month, Tulsa Public Schools made the decision to knock it down quickly.

Crews will now examine other TPS buildings to make sure the same thing that happened at Barnard doesn’t happen again.

Right now, TPS says all of the buildings do meet code.

"We've got some buildings that are much older than others, and we have some that have fire sprinklers and others that do not,” says TPS spokesman Chris Payne.

The cause of the fire was likely due to construction work related to a ventilation pipe.

Rebecca Thompson was the 911 dispatcher who sent firefighters to the scene. This fire hit close to home because her son, niece and nephew were all students here. But on that day, she says her heart and mind were with Tulsa’s first responders.

"This was a situation where Mayday was called at the fire scene which means the firefighters were in trouble and in grave danger,” she says.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 9/18/2012 7:21 PM
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Good idea to keep the remnants of this disaster under wraps until the danger can be neutralized. Hazard to children with too much curiousity. An even bigger hazard to a thief who may think it's easy pickings for salvage metals. If the building hurt the thief in the process there's a good chance that they could sue because the structure wasn't adequately secure from entrance.
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