Lewisville, TX – Fire in sawdust collector at career center is suppressed by sprinkler system

The Dale Jackson Career Center in Lewisville on Edmonds Lane was evacuated Wednesday after a fire broke out in a sawdust collection system on the south side of the building.  Students and staff were all evacuated safely, according to a parent email sent out by Randall Holder, the principal of the campus.  Assistant fire chief Mark McNeal said the fire triggered a sprinkler system that muted its effect.  Units from Lewisville and Flower Mound fire departments fought the blaze.

Update -12:10 p.m.: Principal Randall Holder sent the following parent notice:

Dear Dale Jackson Parents,

We wanted to follow up with you about the situation at Dale Jackson Career Center.

Please know all of our students and staff safely evacuated the building this morning due to a fire at the back of the campus. All students are back at their home campuses and Dale Jackson classes have been canceled for the remainder of the day

Currently, we are waiting on the fire department to deem the building safe for students and staff to retrieve their vehicles and belongings. We will notify you as soon as this happens.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Thank you,
Randall Holder

Update 2 p.m.: Holder sent another update:

We wanted to share the following update with you.

At this time, students will not be allowed back in the building for the remainder of the day, but they may pick up their vehicles if they are able to.

All classes will resume a normal schedule tomorrow, however, the Mill and Cabinetmaking class will be moved to a different classroom in the building.

If it is an absolute emergency and a student must retrieve their belongings from inside DJCC today, the building will remain open until 6 p.m. However, students are encouraged to email their DJCC teacher to make these arrangements. Law enforcement will be present on campus throughout the night to ensure the security of the building.

We are proud of the way our students and staff handled this disruption to their school day, and we are extremely grateful our first responders arrived so quickly.

Please know the safety and security of our students and staff are my top priority here at Dale Jackson.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of our campus.

Randall Holder

Update 4:34 p.m.:  The fire started when the woodworking class’ tablesaw kicked up embers, which fell into the sawdust collection tanks and turned into a full-on blaze. The class used their fire extinguisher on the tablesaw, but could not reach into the tanks.

McNeal said firefighting crews were nervous that opening the tanks would cause a dust explosion, so they opened vents into the sawdust system to allow smoke to dissipate. This is what lead to such a drawn-out, visible fight. McNeal said nobody was hurt.

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