Fire could have been worse

LaCROFT – A fire in a classroom aquarium at LaCroft Elementary School early Monday morning caused no damage to the school, and fire officials said it was lucky a custodian discovered the blaze when she did.

Custodian Kim Bahen said, “That fish tank was rolling smoke out of it,” when she discovered it in the classroom, adding, “(We were) so lucky it was not (Sunday) when no one was here.”

Bahen – whose husband and two sons are all Liverpool Township firefighters – was able to get the aquarium outside and saved the two hermit crabs that lived inside the tank.

“I am not the fireman of the family. I was so scared,” Bahen admitted.

With both the police and fire stations within walking distance of the school building, police officers and firefighters arrived on the scene quickly but found the fire had been extinguished, leaving behind a considerable amount of smoke.

According to one firefighter on the scene, Mike Bahen, the small motor inside the heater shorted out and caught fire, igniting wood chips inside the tank.

“We’re lucky (Mrs. Bahen) was in there. If it had happened on the weekend, we’d have had a different story,” Mike Bahen said.

Calcutta and Glenmoor firefighters also responded, and the three departments used exhaust fans to clear smoke from the building prior to 9 a.m.

Students were on a two-hour delay so none were in the building until after firefighters had departed.

Superintendent James Herring took a moment at Monday night’s school board meeting to thank the fire and police departments for their quick response, saying, “They did a great job.”