Tulsa School of Arts & Sciences destroyed by fire

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Updated: 9/05/2012 1:17 pm Published: 9/05/2012 5:22 am

Tulsa Public School officials say students from the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences will hold classes at the former Sequoyah Elementary School.

Fire destroyed the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences located at 17th and Lewis early Wednesday morning.  Classes will resume at Sequoyah on Thursday morning. 

“TPS staff is working diligently to prepare the building for TSAS staff to welcome students back to school first thing in the morning,” said Dr. Keith Ballard, TPS superintendent. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that TSAS students have a comfortable home at the former Sequoyah building.”

Tulsa fire crews are still investigating what started the fire. Hazardous material crews were called because the fire may have caused explosions in a science lab, firefighters were warned to keep their masks on in that area.

When firefighters first went in, there were only small flames, but an explosion occurred soon after. Witnesses say they heard a huge booming noise and then larger flames shot up into the sky.

The Tulsa Fire Department says eight firefighters were injured, six of those firefighters have been released.  Two others are being treated for 2nd degree burns. The Red Cross also provided relief for the more than 70 firefighters battling the fire.

School officials sent out an email letting students know what is going on and asking them to spread the word. Officials are already setting up meetings for this afternoon to decide where school can be held in the days to come.

Tulsa Public School Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard released this statement about the fire:

“We are greatly saddened by the fire at the historic Barnard building and the devastating impact this has had on the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences. They are a charter school partner with Tulsa Public Schools, and we are committed to helping them recover from the tragic loss of this facility. We will be working closely with TSAS Director Eric Doss to locate an alternate facility and materials so we can help them get back to the business of educating students. We are concerned about the safety of the firefighters who have been injured fighting the fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.”

The Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences is a charter school that is operated in the old Barnard Elementary School building. Tulsa Public Schools still owns the building and officials tell us they are working with administrators to find a new location for the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.

All Souls Unitarian officials say students from TSAS are meeting there this morning and have access to Emerson Hall and upstairs classrooms at the church.

The TSAS officials released this statement about the fire:

This is a sad day for the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences community; the fire at 2324 E 17th Street has been devastating. Our community is very strong and we will recover and rebuild together. Our number one goal is to get students back into classrooms and begin to get back to a sense of normalcy.

Our partners at Tulsa Public Schools have graciously opened the doors to Sequoyah elementary at 724 North Birmingham Avenue and already begun an amazing transformation, cleaning and moving equipment for our use. Our staff will meet at the school this afternoon to make strategic decisions for our new location. Tomorrow we are going to have school at Sequoyah starting at 9:00 am.

There are a lot of questions and an overwhelming outpouring of support from the Tulsa Community. We'll have more information about how people can help as soon as possible on our website at tsas.org

The school thanks Tulsa Public Schools for their support and the Tulsa Fire Department for their fearless job putting out the fire.

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

debbntulsa - 9/5/2012 11:53 AM
0 Votes
Tulsaphoenix,which teacher are you?

Mayor Maynot - 9/5/2012 10:38 AM
0 Votes

tulsaphoenix - 9/5/2012 9:37 AM
0 Votes
I am a teacher at this school and I am very grateful that Tulsa Public is working so closely with us to help us recover. Dr. Ballard's response was immediate that says so much about charter/public school relations. I am also thankful to all of the firefighters who bravely battled this fire and hope for a quick recovery of those injured. The students are already looking at what they can do for the firefighters..shows so much about their character. This is a very unique and special school that often goes unnoticed despite doing very remarkable things for and with students. The school doesn't get to pick students and yet we have some of the highest test scores in the state. We are a strong community and will do what needs to be done to get through this rough time. I also want to mention that construction was being done in the Chemistry lab. It is likely that firefighters may find this was electrical and ignited with a chemical in the lab.

NightShade - 9/5/2012 9:27 AM
0 Votes
The building may be gone, but the school will survive. It will be reborn and ThePhoenix is right, it will rise up out of the ashes stronger than ever.

ThePhoenix - 9/5/2012 7:20 AM
1 Vote
This is my school, no, my home. I love TSAS with all of my heart. I am a sophomore there and I have loved my new building. We will be like our Phoenix and rise from the ashes of this building, we will stick together like the family we are. We love each other and the teachers won't let anything happen to us. Thank you to the brave firefighters who have gotten injured for trying to save the beautiful school, I pray for you and your families.

debbntulsa - 9/5/2012 5:47 AM
1 Vote
This makes me absolutely sick! Those kids & parents & teachers worked so hard to make this a reality!
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