GENESEO – Geneseo Central Schools released a statement about Wednesday night’s fire that damaged the construction site of the school’s new bus garage on Avon Road.
According to Geneseo Central Schools Superintendent Tim Hayes, the damage from the fire was discovered Thursday morning when construction crews arrived to resume work at the site, which Thursday morning meant readying the site to pour concrete. It is believed to have started at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
“It is important to note that the fire at no time threatened the school building and that no students or staff members were injured or impacted by the fire,” said Hayes.
Hayes said that the fire was limited to the unfinished floor of the new facility. A thick plastic vapor barrier that was underneath heavy iron reinforcement bars was completely destroyed by the fire. A mechanical vehicle lift that was encased within the floor was also heavily damaged and will need to be replaced. The plastic and reinforcement bars are utilized in cement flooring to prevent water infiltration and as structural enhancement. However, the cement in the facility has not yet been poured.
On Wednesday, pieces of the reinforcement bars ‘rebar’ were cut to fit the floor structure. After investigation by Kevin Niedermaier, Director of Emergency Management and Fire Investigator for Livingston County, initial indications suggest that a piece of the rebar that was still hot from being cut may have started a piece of the plastic vapor barrier on fire and that the fire spread very slowly throughout the night.
“The fire appears to have moved slowly and melted the whole barrier,” said Hayes. “It wasn’t big enough that anyone noticed it. There was a soccer game last night right behind it and no one noticed it then.”
The expenses associated with the damage are expected to be covered by insurance, either the school’s or the contractor’s.
The incident is expected to delay the project, which was first hoped to be opened in November.
“This is not expected to delay us by months, but maybe weeks,” said Hayes. “We will know more in the next few days.”