Community helps veteran teacher recover after fire - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Community helps veteran teacher recover after fire

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CHAPEL HILL, TX (KLTV) -

An early morning electrical fire in a bathroom at Wise Elementary School led to canceled classes on Thursday. Officials said the fire started sometime between 1 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Debbie Griffin said this is her 29th year of teaching at the school.

"We're a family here at Wise, we're a family and we love each other," she said.

Love she was really feeling on Friday as teachers took the day off from their students to help her recover from the electrical fire that left her classroom covered in soot. Although the flames were contained to the bathroom, smoke damage and soot left four classrooms unusable for the time being. 

Griffin said few things from her classroom are salvageable .

"It was very devastating at first, but then you realize it's just stuff," Griffin said.

However, now 29 years worth of teaching material and her students' school supplies are gone.

"As a parent, I can't imagine having to re-buy my school supply list because it gets expensive, and in this economy these days people need help with their funds," said parent Lori Acker.

So, Acker, along with other Chapel Hill ISD parents and employees are donating supplies, something they said they are thankful they can replace.

"This could have been so much worse. As a firefighter's wife, this could have been out of control by the time fire department got here. Lives could have been lost in this and so He's blessed us completely, but also it shows the love and the support of the Chapel Hill family," Acker said.

"You know, the theme this year at Wise is "Whatever it takes," and that's what we are doing and these kids are troopers," Griffin said.

Troopers who remind her of what is most important.

"God puts blessings in front of you that during your daily life, you don't see them, but when something like this happens, God puts those in front of you and then you have to stop and tell him thank you," Griffin said.

If you would like to donate teaching supplies or school supplies, you may drop them off at Wise Elementary School's front office.

Griffin said glue, markers, paper, puzzles and anything else you may think a kindergartner could use would be great.

The Chapel Hill ISD PTO is also working on organizing a fundraiser for school supplies and monetary donations.

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