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CURRENT STORIES


Harrison school year off to bumpy start

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- A small electrical fire, a traffic accident and some bus mix-ups marked the first day of school for students in Harrison County Tuesday.

The fire occurred outside Gore Middle School on a power line connected to the building. No one was injured, and the building's interior incurred no smoke or water damage, said Harrison County Superintendent Carl Friebel.

There will be no disruption in classes at Gore, he said.

The school was evacuated when the fire broke out about 11:30 a.m., said Clarksburg Fire Capt. Rick Lafferty.

There was no evidence the fire ever got inside the building, he said. The fire was in the exterior area of the school's gymnasium.

"Overall, I thought opening day was very good, aside from the incident at Gore," Friebel said. "Even though that happened, it demonstrated that our emergency preparedness plan worked well. Everyone did exactly what they needed to."

In the Shinnston area, several students were involved in a five-car pile-up in front of Lincoln High School shortly after school dismissed Tuesday.

An elderly man was taken to the hospital, as a result of the accident.

Delbert DeBerry of Meadowbrook was listed in fair condition Tuesday evening at United Hospital Center, according to a nursing coordinator.

Shinnston Police Chief Michael Secreto said two of the seven people involved in the collision were Lincoln High students. No one else was injured.

"Traffic was very congested due to roadway construction and the fact that Lincoln High School had just let out," sad Secreto. "Most vehicles sustained moderate damage, although two of them were towed from the scene."

Part of U.S. 19 near the school was reduced to one lane for paving Tuesday, which caused some students and buses to report late to school, said Lincoln High Principal Jerry Toth.

Also, there were some other minor snags with bus transportation on the first day.

"Invariably every year there are some kids who get on the wrong buses, but we straightened it out," said Victor Gabriel, administrative assistant in charge of support services for Harrison County schools. "We changed a lot of schedules in the Bridgeport area and there were some problems."

After school, some buses returned students home a few minutes late.

"It takes a little longer to load the kids the first day because we're looking at the kids' names and which bus to put them on," Gabriel said. "Our main issue is to get the children to school and home safely. The rest will all come together."

Police were on patrol in school zones for the first day of classes, said Harrison County Sheriff Jim Jack. Some speeding warnings were issued Tuesday, he said.

"I'd just like to remind people that school is back in session and to slow down," he said. "We'll be out patrolling the school zones."

In the locker-lined halls of schools, it was business as usual.

"The hardest thing is getting used to your new classes and getting up early again," said Lincoln High student Nancy Wolfe.

At Liberty High, student council President Mary Beth Mazzie was enjoying her first day as a senior.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," Mazzie said. "It feels different."

Liberty Principal David Book said the first day back went smooth.

"Of course you always have students whose schedules need to be adjusted, but overall everything went well," Book said. "I didn't see any tears today!"

Staff writers Darlene Taylor and Jim Fisher contributed to this story. Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or by e-mail at jbiller@exponent-telegram.com