Smoke forces evacuation of Grafton elementary school

Problem traced to work on addition
Ozaukee Press Staff

Students from Kennedy Elementary were evacuated across the street to the Grafton Public Library after smoke was detected inside the school Thursday morning.

According to Grafton Fire Division Chief Matt Karpinski, the department received a report of smoke inside the school at 10:03 a.m. caused by hot embers melting foam insulation in an addition to the school currently under construction.

He said a welder was working outside when the smoke drew into a mechanical tunnel underneath the school.

“The school staff smelled the odor of something burning and found some moderate smoke levels in the crawl space,” Karpinski said. “They weren’t sure what the cause was at the time and decided to evacuate the students to the library.”

According to librarian Nicolette Birkholz, about 270 students were at the library for more than an hour. She said library staff and teachers read books to the youngsters in various sections of the library. When the staff learned the evacuation would last more than an hour, they showed several movies to the students. 

Karpinski said that in addition to the Grafton Fire Department, the Port Washington and Cedarburg fire departments, as well as the Grafton Police Department responded and ventilated the smoke from the building. There was no damage to the school, he said.

“There was great cooperation with the School District, Police Department and the library,” Karpinski said. “It was a perfect situation because the library is literally across the street.”



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login