Fire crews from Shawnee, OP, Lenexa work to knock down fire at Mill Valley High School

The fire appear to originate on the site of demolition work being done to make way for a new competitive gym. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

Shawnee Fire Investigators are working to determine what sparked a fire at Mill Valley High School, 5900 Monticello Road, late Thursday evening.

Fire Marshal Corey Sands says firefighters were alerted of the fire by calls to 911 about 9:30 p.m. Those calls were followed closely by a call from an alarm company reporting the building’s fire alarm had activated.

“Our crews arrived to find fire on the outside of the building, where the construction is occurring at the high school,” Sands said. “They got it taken care of pretty quick.”

Sands said the fire had extended to the roofline of the building, which firefighters also caught and extinguished quickly.

Unified School District 232 sent an email to families in the district informing them of the fire. The message says that the fire occurred on the outside of the building in an area where demolition work is underway for the addition of a competitive gymnasium.

“We are grateful that our emergency systems worked as planned, which is why the fire department arrived so quickly,” the statement said. “There were no school activities taking place at the time of the fire and no fire damage to the interior.”

After hearing that several neighbors were talking about how they could smell smoke earlier in the evening, Fire Marshal Sands said, “we would encourage people if you do smell smoke, call 911.”

Sands said if the smell of smoke had been reported sooner, firefighters would have responded to investigate and worked to locate the source.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Shawnee firefighters were assisted on the call by the Lenexa Fire Department and Overland Park Fire Department.

Johnson County Med-Act was on scene with two ambulances and their firefighter rehabilitation unit due to the heat and humidity. 

No injuries were reported.

Editor’s update at 10:55 a.m.: The Shawnee Fire Department has issued a press release on the incident:

Mill Valley High School Fire Ruled Accidental

“On June 6, 2019 at approximately 9:30pm, Shawnee fire crews responded to a
reported building fire at Mill Valley High School located at 5900 Monticello Road. Shawnee fire crews arrived and found fire showing from the outside area of the portion of the high school that is under construction. Shawnee fire crews made a quick stop to the exterior fire and kept the fire from entering the high school.

Shawnee fire investigators have concluded their investigation into the fire and have determined that the fire was accidentally caused by demolition crews using torches and saws to remove metal structural components during the demolition of the portion of the high school. The metal and roofing material that was demolished was then placed in a pile up against the exterior wall to the high school. Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands stated, “The roofing material and foam roofing pieces used to insulate the roof actually insulated the fire for several hours when it was placed in a pile after the demolition”.

There were no injuries during this fire and the Lenexa and Overland Park Fire Departments responded to assist the Shawnee Fire Department during this fire. Damage estimates are approximately $2,500 dollars.”