Firefighters Battle Second Fire at Cooper Elementary School

School leaders had an evacuation plan ready in case the fire escalated.

SUPERIOR, Wisc. – A fire Sunday night caused an estimated $1 million in damage at the new Cooper Elementary School in Superior, a building that’s still under construction.

The fire crews were out Monday, April 9, continuing their investigation when a second fire broke out.

The old Cooper Elementary School is still being used right next door to where the fire happened and students were in school today.

School leaders had an evacuation plan ready in case the fire escalated.

The initial fire started around 10 p.m. After that an explosion happened and blew off these doors.

“Right inside the fence over there, there’s an overhead garage that it blew out,” said Superior Resident and Witness Bob O’Brien.

The second fire began nine hours after the first one was contained at around 11 a.m.

“I could see a hole in the roof with some fire coming out of it,” said Superior Fire Department Chief Batallion Chief Scott Gordon. “We got our aerial truck positioned and we were able to use the ladder on our aerial to get crews and equipment up to the roof and it took a couple of hours to get the fire out.”

The second fire on the roof caused an estimated half a million dollars in damage.

“So it was a matter of the wind was not our friend. The wind kept moving the fire, we would expose it,” said Gordon. “There’s no way to get any access to that from inside the building. so we need to go from the top down.”

One resident living nearby says it felt like a car went through his house and another living two blocks away says she felt her home shake and tremble after the explosion last night.

O’brien has lived in his home for 40 years and says he’s never seen anything like this.

“We were getting shaking and rattling and everything else going on over here. yeah it was noisy,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien says he saw dust blowing across the street from last night’s explosion.

“If you’ve ever heard fireworks display around the fourth like the one the cities put on and the loud boom when they go off, that’s pretty much what it was.”

Nobody was hurt in the fires or explosion.

The Superior Fire Department used drone footage from the Police Department to determine the best way to extinguish the second fire.

Investigators from the Superior Fire Department tell us they won’t know the cause of the second fire until they figure out the cause of the first fire.

The new school was scheduled to open next fall.


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