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      Fire engulfs Pike-Lincoln Technical Center in Eolia

      Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 4:30 p.m., The Pike-Lincoln Technical Center at Eolia plans to rebuild after a fire that gutted the main classroom and administration facility Friday night.

      Thankfully, there were no injuries, and the new diesel mechanics and welding facility just to the south was not affected.

      Pike-Lincoln officials said plans for a renovation of the main facility had already been completed, so they'll now proceed with a full construction plan. In the meantime, the former middle school at the Clopton campus near Elsberry will be used for Pike-Lincoln classes.

      Health services and nursing students will return Monday, with other classes resuming Friday.


      Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 11 p.m. Students and staff at the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center aren't too sure when classes will resume after a fire swept through their school Friday night.

      More than 130 firefighters battled the fire that lasted well into the morning hours Saturday. It wasn't until this afternoon, that fire investigators were able to assess the damage.

      "When I got on the scene, there were at least three or four student firefighters here. They were some of the first responders," said Pike County Superintendant Mark Harvey.

      Almost 12 hours later, the smoke and flames finally cleared, leaving students and staff without a school, with only weeks left in the fall semester.

      Residents from across the county stopped by throughout the day to see what was left of the building.

      "It's a devastating blow for our area schools, whether you're in Louisiana, Clarksville, Silex, Troy, Winfield, Elsberry, they will have a lot of decisions to make and we hope they rebuild as quickly as possible," said Mary Tarpein, a teacher from Winfield High School.

      "Where these students will finish out this semester and where next semester's students will go is a big problem for the schools superintendents.Not every school has a welding program, not every school has a body shop facility. So it's going to be a puzzle piece to figure out for these people," said Gay Reed, a retired teacher from Troy.

      The schools administrators are piecing together efforts from the community for a quick return into the classroom, but it won't be an instant fix.

      "Our plan at this point is to use a middle school facility which was constructed in the early 70's much like this one, with open classroom format. We have classrooms that can house all the students on our Clopton Campus.As soon as we have some of the proper instruction materials and the technical tools that students need, we'll be ready for school on the Clopton campus," said Harvey

      KHQA tried getting a comment from officials with the Eolia Fire Department while on scene Saturday afternoon, but they declined an interview. They said they're continuing to look into the cause of the fire.


      Saturday afternoon, Mark Harvey, the Superintendant of Schools sent out this letter to the media:

      "On December 2 there was a fire in the original structure at Pike-Lincoln Technical Center (PLTC), a campus of the Pike County R-III (Clopton) School District in Eolia, Missouri. The damage was extensive and contained to the original structure. There was no one in the building at the time of the fire. The newer Diesel and Automotive Technology Building was undamaged.

      Seven area schools send students to the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center. Pike County School Districts include: Bowling Green R-I, Louisiana R-II and Clopton. Lincoln County School Districts include: Silex R-I, Elsberry R-II, Troy R-III, and Winfield R-IV. Adult students from the surrounding counties take courses at PLTC during both day and evening classes.

      The Pike County R-III (Clopton) School District is the fiscal agent of the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center. The Technical Center began as an outgrowth of the need for vocational training in Northeast Missouri in the late 1960 TMs. PLTC is considered a showcase for technical training across the state and region. Former students have gone on to become leaders in their fields across multiple states and many foreign countries.

      There has been an outpouring of support from area school districts, district patrons, and communities from all across the state of Missouri.

      The District, Administration, and Board of Education would like to thank the local fire departments, those from the multiple counties that responded to the fire, and anyone who provided assistance during the initial hours of this crisis.

      Faculty and staff are currently working at this time to gather curriculum and educational materials. Information regarding student TMs schedules and their return to regular classes will be forthcoming.

      Please direct any communications through the District Administrative Offices during regular school hours, Monday through Friday.

      The Pike County R-III (Clopton) School District would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and continued support of its students and those of Pike-Lincoln Technical Center."


      Friday, December 2, 2011 at 9 p.m. At least nine fire departments were called to the scene of an "all-call" fire at the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center in Eolia Friday night.

      Lincoln County Fire Marshal Barry Nuss says the call came in at 6:18 p.m. More than 22 fire trucks reported to the scene, with more than 130 firefighters on board. Most of the night was spent battling the blaze in defensive mode. The initial unit tried to attempt an interior fire attack, but Nuss says the fire and smoked pushed them out. Units from all over Pike, Lincoln, Wentzville, and Warren arrived on scene, as the school continued to burn through the night and into the early morning. Even the St. Charles Tanker Strike Team assisted in the fight, consisting of four fire departments within the county.

      Click on the map graphic for a link to a Google interactive map.

      The school's director, Krista Flowers told KHQA the fire started around 6 p.m. Friday. She says a "tech coordinator realized what was going on when they lost their internet connection, a cause of the fire in the ceiling."

      Flowers says no one was in the school at the time of the fire. Stay with KHQA for updates.