Blown transformer leaves Lexington Middle School without power

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
(Photo: Carlos Giusti, AP)

Crews are working to fix a transformer that left middle school students in the dark and sweating.

The transformer blew at Lexington Middle School in south Fort Myers.

Jim Cliche didn’t expect he would be picking up his son from school early on Thursday.

“Yeah I was a little surprised that they didn’t send a text message saying that the school was going to be dismissed, or that they were going to send busses,” Cliche said. “I don’t think the kids should be sitting in a hot school.”

Florida Power and Light said the school’s transformer failed this morning.

FPL crews worked for nearly 12 hours to replace the transformer, but students were stuck with no air conditioning, no computers and not much light during school hours. Power was restored around 3:30 p.m.

“I really didn’t want to spend the whole day there because it’s dark,” Andrew Cliche said.

Jim’s son, Andrew, said it was pretty much a wasted day.

“We didn’t get any work done,” Andrew said. “All we did was we were playing on our phones and talking to our friends.”

Many students called or texted their parents to pick them up because they were getting too warm —many trying to find a little relief.

“Some people are getting really hot,” Jaquin Santos said. “Some people had to stay near the windows.”

More students at Lexington expressed their experience at school without a working A/C.

“It was getting around that time of day when it was getting a lot hotter, so I figured if it was [going to] get really hot,” William St. John said. “I’d rather be at home then be really hot.”

Lee County school district said they didn’t cancel classes, so parents wouldn’t need to worry about their kids staying home if they had to work.

“I wouldn’t blame anyone” Oliver St. John said. “It’s just one of those unfortunate things is a little chaotic, but what are you [going to] do?”

The district brought the students water, and they had backup generators for health and safety issues as well as for the kitchen coolers. The kitchen uses gas to cook, so lunch was served as normal.

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