An attempt to hatch chicken eggs using a heat lamp and a cardboard box as an incubator in a First United Methodist Church preschool classroom went terribly awry early Thursday, but Ardmore firefighters say while the experiment went up in smoke, the fact that the fire didn’t explode through the entire structure is a true miracle.


 


“The heat lamp was hanging on the side of the cardboard box, the air conditioning fans in the building were blowing, all the doors were open, the building is old, the walls are plaster the ceiling beams are old wood — all the conditions were right for it to still be on fire,” said Capt. Dave Tomlinson, AFD, shortly before noon.


An attempt to hatch chicken eggs using a heat lamp and a cardboard box as an incubator in a First United Methodist Church preschool classroom went terribly awry early Thursday, but Ardmore firefighters say while the experiment went up in smoke, the fact that the fire didn’t explode through the entire structure is a true miracle.

 

“The heat lamp was hanging on the side of the cardboard box, the air conditioning fans in the building were blowing, all the doors were open, the building is old, the walls are plaster the ceiling beams are old wood — all the conditions were right for it to still be on fire,” said Capt. Dave Tomlinson, AFD, shortly before noon.

 

“We don’t know why the fire didn’t just take off and spread. We’re still scratching our heads and thinking about it — it really was a miracle.”

 

Tomlinson said the initial fire was so hot it caused a window in the classroom to explode.

 

A passerby saw the window and called 911. Firefighters were on the scene within minutes and were able to gain control of the situation quickly. No children were in the classroom at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

 

Tomlinson said firefighters found two similar egg hatching incubators in other preschool classrooms in the building. He said school officials assured firefighters the make shift science experiments would be removed.

 

While actual fire damage was minimal, Tomlinson said soot was distributed throughout the building through the church’s heating and air conditioning system. Smoke also caused extensive damage.

 

“Right now I don’t have any damage estimates, but the cleanup is going to be a big job,” Tomlinson said.

 

Efforts to reach FUMC pastor, the Rev. Jessica Moffatt Seay, concerning cleanup efforts and possible temporary quarters for preschool classes were not successful.