The incident happened shortly after 12:30 p.m. There were no injuries, and students and staff were let back into the building after the fire department ventilated it to remove the smoke.
Chief Dingelstedt provided the following synopsis of the incident:
All fire units responded to 17 Parker Ave. (Columbia High School) at 12:36 p.m. on the report of a fire on the first floor. Arriving firefighters were directed to an office near a side door in A wing where CHS principal, Mrs. Aaron, said a fan had caught fire.
Investigation revealed a moderate smoke condition caused by a fan motor burning in a wall above the office. The fan had been shut off prior to the arrival of the fire department, preventing fire from extending beyond the fan motor. The fan was disconnected and school officials were going to remove it from the wall.
The building was mechanically ventilated using the positive-pressure ventilation fan. Once ventilation was complete, students and staff were allowed to return to the building.