BRIDGMAN — A burning trash can filled the Bridgman High School gymnasium and adjacent facilities with smoke on the evening of Thursday, July 25.

"There's quite a bit of smoke throughout the building," said Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum and Special Education Director Sam Stine at about 9:40 p.m. that evening.

He added that firefighters on the scene were using fans to blow some of the smoke out of the building.

Stine said the gym floor was in the process of being refinished, and it's believed that the fire is linked to that project.  

He said a custodian noticed the smoke and called both 911 and him earlier in the evening. Upon arriving at the gym, Stine said he discovered the burning trash can near the entrance to a locker room in the gym (close to buckets of flammable liquids that did not ignite).

"We've got a lot of smoke cleaning to do," he said.

The charred remains of the trash can and what appeared to be a floor mat had been pulled out of the gym and onto a sidewalk as fans were  being deployed. The spot inside where the fire had broken out was marked by a dark scorch mark and a strong burned metallic/plastic scent filled the air.

On Tuesday, July 30, Stine said ServPro was going to be cleaning the affected areas of the school (primarily the gym and locker rooms adjacent to that facility and the aquatic center along with the student commons area) through Aug. 7.

He said the vast majority of what need to be done in the wake of the fire is "an intense cleaning."

The gym floor project is set to resume on Aug. 8, and Stine said that part of the school should be up and running by mid August.

He added that an annual maintenance session at the aquatic center was underway when the fire occurred and is still expected to be completed by Aug. 7.

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