Grove Valley Elementary School students were evacuated in record time Wednesday when the fire bell sounded, according to their principal.

An overheated kiln was the culprit behind the extra time out of school as students were cleared from the classrooms and cafeteria.

“Kudos to the staff. We practice this often so everyone knew what to do. Right now we are cleaning up the smoke and possibly water damage,” said Principal Kelly Faught.

Students were back in class in about 45 minutes and the rest of the day proceeded as scheduled. Parents who had rushed to the school were told the students were safe, the building was fine and there was no need to withdraw their child from school for the rest of the day.

It is better for the students if things get back to normal as quickly as possible, Faught told parents in the school’s office.

The fire started about 12:30 p.m. during the lunch block and two fire trucks were sent from the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

“The fire was all out when we got on the scene. The sprinklers were going off, but we were able to stop the water with a wedge and the system was kept in operation,” said Lt. Toby Walser with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

“We started smoke removal. The kids are back inside and the alarm has been reset. At this time we have started water removal,” Walser added.

A native Oklahoman, retired school teacher Patty Miller taught journalism and English for 30 years before beginning her second career as a reporter for The Edmond Sun in 2000. She is a previous winner of the OPA's Beachy Musselman Award.