Yesterday afternoon (02-01-21) I was headed home from work when I saw the smoke rising from the East side, huge plumes of heavy black smoke and ash filling the sky. As I got closer and closer I realized it was coming from my neighborhood and feared the worst. I pulled in and immediately saw all the fire trucks and police fighting a fire at the old Park Lane Elementary School located at 4912 S.E. Avalon Ave. It's completely empty so no kids were there and as far as we know, no injuries have been reported from the fire. The school has been closed now for over 5 years. It was shut down back in 2016 and has remained empty ever since.

The Lawton Fire Department battled the flames for well over an hour and eventually got it all under control. The entire neighborhood was filled with smoke and ash, you could barely see more than a block it was so dense. The fire department did an amazing job as did the Lawton Police Department keeping everyone safe and re-routing traffic through the neighborhood. Even people from the neighborhood chipped in and helped out where they could. The main structure of the school is pretty much destroyed, other parts of the building like the attached gym were unaffected. Most of the roof was burnt through and areas that didn't see actual fire are probably beyond repair due to smoke damage. I'd be willing to bet that it's a complete loss.

As far as what, or how the fire started they're still investigating that. Some people who live in the neighborhood next door to the school are saying that kids may have started it. Over the past several weeks the school has been broken into, vandalized and fires have been set in various locations throughout the building. Hopefully this isn't the case, but it's starting to look that way. It's a shame to, that school has been there the entire time I've lived on the East Side. I didn't go there, but as a kid I use to ride my bike and skateboard in the parking lot and the wide sidewalks around and in front of the school.

I'm sure over the next few weeks it will become clear as to what happened and how the fire started. Not only did we have the fire in Park Lane, but due to all the fire hydrants in use there were multiple water line breaks. Around 7 total in the neighborhood and the worst being right in front of my house. It was like a geyser throwing water well over 20 feet in the air and flooding the streets and nearby driveways. City of Lawton workers showed up and turned everything off before we ended up under water. Crews worked throughout the night repairing all the lines that had ruptured and restoring our water. A BIG THANKS to all of the crews who were working and to everyone else how helped out we really appreciate it.

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