Old Sumter County High School Gymnasium Catches Fire

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York, Ala. An early afternoon fire impacted the old Sumter County High School Gym. Firefighters say they received a call around 1:00 Sunday afternoon about smoke coming from the gym. When engine trucks arrived, they were delayed in checking on the fire due to the school grounds being abandoned and fences locked that led up to the gym.

"Well we had to access the school," said Fire Chief Gregory Chinn. "The school was locked down, it was chained up and all the doors were locked. It took us a little while to try to access it and then find exactly where the fire was coming from."

When firefighters were able to get inside the school grounds, they found the fire contained to one room inside the gym and were quickly able to extinguish it with help from numerous other fire departments.

"We had a lot of help here with this fire,' said Chinn. "As far as we know the fire is still under investigation. It was a small fire in one of the locker rooms here at the high school."

Once the fire was extinguished, the rest of the gym was vented for smoke and checked for heat. The South Sumter Fire Chief says the investigation is in the hands of the Alabama State Fire Marshal.

"The Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office has been notified," said South Sumter Fire Chief C.R. Vaughan. "They will be en route to investigate this, just due to the fact that it's in a school building. Due to the fact that it's an ongoing investigation we won't make any comment further. The Alabama Fire Marshal's Office will produce a report."

With the exception of the room that caught fire, most of the gym sustained smoke damage. Chief Vaughan said it could take up to 72 hours for the report to be released.