BREAKING NEWS | Explosion near SHS results in lockdown, evacuation of New Tech

Scottsburg resident Kailee Lynn captured a video of the fire and explosion that took place this morning near the 800 block of Armory Place, just one-half mile from SHS. Video courtesy of Kailee Lynn

  • Timeline of events at SHS

    10 a.m.: Smoke could be seen close to SHS. 

    10:13 a.m.: SHS went on official lockdown, a code orange. 

    10:36 a.m.: The New Tech building had to evacuates to the Commons or McClain Hall. 

    10:57 a.m.: Lunches were brought to students in the rooms, where they are in or were assigned to. 

    11:09 a.m.: Principal Chris Routt sends a notification via ParentSquare, alerting families about the lockdown “out of precaution.”

    11:30 a.m.: Students remain safe. 

    12:22 p.m.: Administration release students to return to regular schedule, starting with fifth period.

As students look out the New Tech windows, they see smoke rising from Thomas Plastics near 800 block of Armory Place. Police cars, ambulances and fire trucks race past the school on their way to the scene. Sirens surround the school as first responders go to help.

Scottsburg resident Kailee Lynn said she witnessed the Thomas Plastics building smoking and on fire. 

“I walked from my house that was nearby. I saw it starting to smoke around 10:05 but very minimal amount of smoke. With approximately five minutes, it just engulfed into flames, and that’s when I took the video,” Lynn said.

As students watched out the classroom windows during chemistry class third period, science teacher Deonna Puckett explained the billowing smoke coming from the explosion. 

“The smoke is dark in color due to the types of chemicals burning. Plastic is very flammable,” Puckett said. 

Students saw the smoke from the fiery explosion at New Tech during third period classes. Deonna Puckett’s room has a wall of windows facing U.S. 31, making it a prime location to see what happened outside as first responders race to the scene. Video by Isabela Diaz

Puckett’s classroom along with the rest of the New Tech building evacuated to the Commons or the McClain Hall gymnasium, where they received their lunches. 

“We are in a lockdown right now out of precaution,” Principal Chris Routt said in his post on ParentSquare. “We have all students in the main building and are now eating lunch. Sgt. Watts is in communication with authorities on the scene, and we will remain in lockdown until the authorities let us know it is safe to resume normal activities.”

Students try to busy themselves with their phones or by talking to friends. While in lockdown in the gymnasium, some students play away their stress, as they play basketball or volleyball in the gym. 

Braxton Vincent (12) pulls up for a jump shot as students wait in their third period classes during the evacuation of New Tech and lockdown on campus. Photo by Isabela Diaz

Junior students, who went to Prosser this morning, arrived back to SHS to see a different scene.

“The whole way from Prosser to SHS, the bus was very chaotic. I could see legs shaking up and down as we waited to see the smoke. As we got off the bus, all of us were scrambling to find where we were going and what would be happening. I could smell chemicals walking up to the door,” Ellie Bryson (11) said.

Nearly two hours after evacuating New Tech, administration instructed students to return to a regular schedule, starting with fifth period.

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