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Fire damages Ellsworth High School

The fire damage inside the wrestling room. This is area where the fire began from the mobile cleaning unit.1 / 4
Soot covers the walls and ceiling of the EHS wrestling room.2 / 4
The soot from the fire got into the air system and into several rooms in the school.3 / 4
Soot from the fire covers the floor near the entry of one of the lockerrooms near the new gymnasium.4 / 4

A fire which began in the Ellsworth High School wrestling room, took place and was put out this morning.

The fire reportedly began around 4:30 a.m. According to Ellsworth School District Superintendent Barry Cain, it was a mobile air-cleaning unit inside the wrestling room which caught fire and caused damage to room. Custodial staff, which was at the school building that morning for maintenance and to plow away snow, caught the fire early and put it out but it damaged one of the mats and causing damage to the walls and ceiling due to flame and smoke. 

While the fire itself was contained to the wrestling room, the soot from the fire got into the HAVC air system and got into other parts of the school.

"The wrestling room is part of an air system zone and every room in that zone has soot in it." Cain said.

This includes the new gymnasium, the lockerooms next to the gymnasium, the computer labs on the second floor and the senior lockers. All of these rooms will have to be cleaned, along with the lockers and computers. The school is closed today and the area the fire took place will be closed until cleaned. Cain said the cleaning should be done by the time school resumes on Jan. 2 but he said he will keep district students and parents informed as to the progress on the clean-up.

The Ellsworth wrestling teams gear was not damaged in the fire but the uniforms will have to be cleaned today and sent to the team wrestling in the Bi-State Classic tomorrow in La Crosse. However, damage to the wrestling will force the team to practice either in the old gymnasium or at Ellsworth Middle School.