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Gym roof at West Rowan catches on fire

By Shavonne Potts and Kathy Chaffin
spotts@salisburypost.com
A fire at West Rowan High School Wednesday afternoon started on the roof.
Chief Kenny Payne of the Cleveland Fire Department said a construction crew working on the roof had to heat it before putting the rubber and tar down. “Evidently, it got too hot and set the roof on fire,” he said.
The fire was reported to the Rowan County 911 Center at about 2 p.m. after staff noticed the gym had filled with smoke and discovered the fire. No one was injured.
Principal Jamie Durant said students had already gone home, having left at 1 p.m. because of testing.
Firefighters were called to the scene to ensure the fire had been put out. Payne said they were on the scene for about two hours.
Firefighters from the Cleveland, Atwell, Franklin, Locke, Salisbury, West Rowan and Woodleaf departments responded to the fire along with the Rowan Fire Marshal’s Office and Rowan Rescue Squad.
Payne said firefighters were on the scene for about two hours. “It was a smoldering fire,” he said, “and it was tougher to get to it. It took a while. We had to take panels off the roof …
“We tried not to use a whole lot of water because it was over the gymnasium, and we didn’t want to ruin the floor with water.”
Firefighters also put protective covers on the gym floor.
Durant said workers had been on the roof for two months replacing the roof.

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