Video shows fire near Ruidoso MS; parents question evacuation process
RUIDOSO, N.M. – A picture taken from inside Ruidoso Middle School showed just how close flames from the McBride Fire got after it started Tuesday and quickly spread.
All students and staff were evacuated safely, but some parents are raising concerns about how that evacuation was handled.
"Luckily, the biggest thing is it didn’t turn out to be a catastrophic situation," said Steven Temple, parent.
One of Temple’s two sons attends Ruidoso Middle School. The fire got close to the building, as students and staff sheltered inside.
"He didn’t realize how bad it was until they could see the fire. That’s when he said that he knew it was pretty bad and he knew that the school had a bunch of smoke in it. And he said there was a bunch of kids that I guess were asthmatic, and they were coughing and stuff," said Temple.
Fire crews fought the flames back and none of the school buildings were damaged. It took school officials an hour and a half to evacuate more than 1,700 students from the elementary, middle and high schools to the convention center.
But Temple and other parents took to social media saying the evacuation process was too slow and unorganized.
"We get over there and it’s just straight chaos. Like nobody has a plan, nobody has nothing, they’re just stuffing all these kids in this giant, dark room at the convention center because there’s no power on obviously. And there’s no way for us to talk to anybody because there’s zero service," said Temple.
Temple also said his sons weren’t required to do wildfire evacuation drills – something he thinks could have made the process easier.
"You just always assume as a parent that they have a good plan set up and I just feel like the school dropped the ball, the school or somebody dropped the ball. The ball got dropped somewhere," Temple said.
KOB 4 tried to get a hold of Ruidoso’s superintendent for a response to parents’ concerns. The superintendent posted on the district’s Facebook page Wednesday, saying all schools will remain closed Thursday, and they anticipate reopening next Tuesday.