HOULTON, Maine — Firefighters from four departments responded to a fire call Thursday afternoon when a report came in to Houlton that a computer had exploded on the second floor of Summit Academy and caused a fire.
At the time the fire was reported — around 2:20 p.m. — the school’s approximately 30 students were getting ready to leave for the day. Students were evacuated, but much of the technology, including student laptops, had to be left behind.
“The caller stated that the sprinkler system was activated and they were evacuating the building,” Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone said. “When we arrived, we found the fire originated in the server room. Unfortunately due to the construction of the building, and all of the additions, water from the sprinkler system was not getting to the area that it needed to.”
Crews from Houlton, Hodgdon, Littleton and Monticello responded to the call to the school, located at the corner of Military and Kendall streets.
The Summit Academy is a four-district collaborative alternative education school for RSU 29 (Houlton), SAD 70 (Hodgdon), RSU 50 (Southern Aroostook) and SAD 14 (East Grand). The school opened in September.
The building once served as the home of the Military Street Baptist Church.
There was heavy smoke, but the sprinkler system helped keep the flames to the second floor. Holes were cut into the slate roof to ventilate the smoke. The building suffered heavy water damage.
Chief Cone said he contacted the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office due to the anticipated large property loss.
No injuries were reported.
It wasn’t clear how long the school would be closed as a result of the fire.