PORTAGE, Mich. — A welding torch being used to install air conditioning equipment at a local Portage, Mich., school has been targeted as the possible cause of a recent small ceiling fire. The fire at Jones Elementary School sent smoke through the building before the blaze was quickly extinguished.

No summer school classes were in session at the school and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters were called to the school in the early afternoon of July 3. Workers from a South Bend, Ind., air conditioning contractor were doing welding when the fire broke out.

A fire department official said that its initial findings indicated sparks from a welding torch caused the fire, but a full investigation into the cause would be done.

The installation of air conditioning at Jones is part of a $15 million bond issue in the local township to revamp HVAC systems, and in some cases, provide first-time air conditioning to selected schools. Before the fire, air conditioning work at Jones was expected to be done by August.

Publication date: 07/21/2003