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Union Getting 8th Grade Center Ready For Students Following Fire

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The building's roof was hit by lightning early Wednesday morning, setting off a 40-foot long line of fire. The building's roof was hit by lightning early Wednesday morning, setting off a 40-foot long line of fire.
The fire mostly stayed to the top of the building, destroying a wooden and tile roof that covers a metal structure inside. The fire mostly stayed to the top of the building, destroying a wooden and tile roof that covers a metal structure inside.
An army of workers were ripping up carpet and removing ceiling tiles at Union Schools' 8th Grade Center Thursday. An army of workers were ripping up carpet and removing ceiling tiles at Union Schools' 8th Grade Center Thursday.
"Right now, it's mainly removing and drying out the facility," said Charlie Bushyhead, with Union. "Right now, it's mainly removing and drying out the facility," said Charlie Bushyhead, with Union.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

An army of workers were ripping up carpet and removing ceiling tiles at Union Schools' 8th Grade Center Thursday.

The building's roof was hit by lightning early Wednesday morning, setting off a 40-foot long line of fire.

The fire mostly stayed to the top of the building, destroying a wooden and tile roof that covers a metal structure inside.

"Right now, it's mainly removing and drying out the facility," said Charlie Bushyhead, with Union.

He said he's been working non-stop since the lightning struck.

The first day of school is less than a month away, August 19, and the district is planning for the 8th Grade Center to be open when the first bell rings.

"When they walk in, our plan is that this building is as good, if not better than it was the day the fire occurred," Bushyhead said.

7/24/2013 Related Story: Lightning Blamed For Fire On Roof Of Union 8th Grade Center

Bushyhead said the flames were the least of the problems. It was the water that soaked the floor and the soot that got everywhere that caused the most trouble.

Half of the building's carpet and ceiling tiles will need to be replaced. Environmental specialists are testing the building's air quality. Special fans have been brought in to remove the moisture from inside the building.

"If it's soot or smoke residue or things in the building, the smell is just a sign of what we've got on there, and we're just trying to get rid of all that and make sure that our air quality is as good as it can be," Bushyhead.

The district is still counting how much it will cost to repair, but Bushyhead said it's well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

School officials say there isn't anything structurally wrong with the building, it's just a matter of cleaning and replacing water-logged carpet.

Bushyhead said his goal is to have the building ready one week before school starts, which would be August 12. That way, teachers will have a chance to get ready for the school year.

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