Tuckahoe Elementary students will attend Short Pump Middle tempo - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Tuckahoe Elementary students will attend Short Pump Middle temporarily


Thursday, students will head back to school - but this time it will be at Short Pump Middle. This will be the case for the next couple weeks until crews finish cleaning up the mess. 

The smoke damage is so bad, it's unhealthy for students to attend school right now. In fact, NBC12 even saw people wearing masks before entering the building as crews cleaned up.  That's why Henrico County Schools decided to move nearly 700 children along with staff and teachers to Short Pump Middle School temporarily.  

"Safety is the primary concern for the school division so we're certainly going to keep that in mind as we move forward for our temporary arrangement for our students," said Henrico County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw. "Our goal is to make sure kids are safe, they're fed, well taught - and that we work through this as a community."

Sarah Harris has two children who attend Tuckahoe Elementary. Her kids have been out of school for at least a day for the past couple of weeks.

"Absolutely - they need to do the safest thing to keep the children safe and the teachers and staff," said Harris. "I know with smoke - it can be such a danger."

Fire officials say a light in the ceiling malfunctioned Sunday, setting a couch below it on fire. It was in the lower level of the building in the rotunda area near the cafeteria. Henrico Fire Captain Doug Reynolds says the fire was accidental - leaving soot and oily smoke damage behind.

"It's very rare that you would see a fire start from it," said Capt. Reynolds. "It was just very bad luck the fact there was a couch underneath it. Some hot oil may have dropped down and there may have been some sparks that caused it. That part of the equation - we're not sure exactly what part of it failed."

Fire crews say the school does not have sprinklers but it just passed its annual fire inspection last week.  

Students will start school at Short Pump Middle School on Thursday, and head back to school here at Tuckahoe in the next couple of weeks once crews finish clean-up. NBC 12 will be sure to keep you posted if anything changes.

There will be an informational session Wednesday night at 6:30 at Short Pump Middle School. Education leaders will answer all questions parents may have regarding the temporary accommodations.

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