Major Fire Destroys Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences Facility

Sep 5, 2012

Eight Tulsa fire-fighters are injured while battling a three alarm fire at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences. The fire was reported just before 5AM this morning at the school, which is located at 17th and South Lewis. Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May was on the scene.

Stan May: “We had heavy smoke and flames showing. Fire fighters made an aggressive interior attack. That is when we had a couple of sizable explosions; they believe it is an old chemistry lab.”

EMSA was called to the scene and then other ambulances were dispatched to the location. EMSA’s Keli Bruer says the eight fire-fighters were taken to the hospital.

Keli Bruer:  There have been other injuries, but, eight firefighters have been transported from the scene.  All of them have been in fair condition. That means non-life-threatening. All were responders. There were no civilians and certainly no children involved in this.”

Smoke was visible from all over Tulsa and the thick smell of smoke continues to hang in the air. 

TSAS is a charter school with an enrollment of about 300. The building, however, is owned by the Tulsa Public Schools. It is the former home of the Bernard Elementary School, which was closed as a part of the Tulsa Public Schools' Project School House. Tulsa School Superintendent Keith Ballard is offering TSAS help from the Tulsa Public Schools.

Keith Ballard:  “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.”

Mayor Bartlett was briefed on the fire by Fire Chief Ray Driskell. He says the injured fire fighters were saved by their training.

Dewey Bartlett:“One told him (injured firefighter to Chief Driskell) that without his training, he would have been very, very seriously injured. Because of the training, this individual was able to initiate proper procedures and get himself safe, but also to get his fellow fire fighters safe.”

No word what may have sparked this blaze.