Frost Elementary Classroom Fire Prompts Community Support for Teachers

Hillsborough County Public Schools spokesperson Linda Cobbe speaks to the media, while standing inside a classroom that was extensively damaged by a recent fire at Frost Elementary. Only weeks away from the first day of school, the community is asked to offer their support for two teachers that have lost all of their supplies. 

A fire that destroyed school supplies as well as extensively damaged a shared classroom of Frost Elementary teachers Holly Cover and Jamy Daily-Herman late last month, prompted school administration, fellow teachers and Riverview community representatives to join forces and spread the word of a drive to help.

“These two teachers have been teaching for several years and had accumulated many valuable teacher supplies over the years,” said Riverview Chamber of Commerce Director Tanya Doran. “They have lost everything.”

Deanna Hurley, an aide to Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham who had notified media and the chamber of the predicament of the two teachers said that with only weeks before the August 21, start of the school year, the teachers are now facing a huge task of rebuilding.

“We just wanted to help to get the word out and encourage area residents to support these teachers,” Hurley said.”

Responding to the fire, Higginbotham emphasized his trust in the community’s support when he said,

“When the fire came to our attention, I knew our community would want to help these teachers and students in need.”

The school is located at 3950 Falkenburg Rd. in Riverview but also serves the Brandon area, south of S. R. 60 and north of Causeway Blvd./Lumsden Rd. and west of Lakewood Dr./Providence Rd.

Opened in 2005, Frost Elementary is named after Ron Frost, former principal of Durant High School, and his wife, Sandra Frost, former principal of Cimino Elementary School.

As a Title 1 school, a high percentage of its students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches because of their families’ economic situations.

School officials said that the shared classroom affected by the fire supports approximately 32 children.

According to Hillsborough County Public Schools spokesperson Linda Cobbe, 17 classrooms were damaged by the smoke, 15 of which will be ready for opening day and that the estimated cost of the damage is $400,000.

The school is covered by insurance, but the school district does not cover the thousands of dollars worth of personal materials that include such things as baskets, buckets, posters, Post-it pads and, of course, office supplies many of which are bought by the teachers themselves personally.

To help their colleagues, Frost educators are seeking gift cards from Target, Staples, Walmart, Amazon, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-a-Million to help their colleagues replace the lost items.

Among the first to step up to the plate to help was Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC which committed to donate $5,000 to the school.

“The recent fire at Frost Elementary has created an urgent situation as Hillsborough County and the community work together to ensure the school can be ready for students on the first day,” said Mosaic Community Relations Manager Christine Smith.

Mosaic Phosphate Operations Senior Vice President, Bo Davis added, “Mosaic recognizes the urgency and need created by this unfortunate event, and we are pleased to provide a donation to Frost to ease their recovery and replenish supplies for the coming year.”

The Hillsborough Education Foundation also got involved quickly and invited the two teachers to shop for free supplies at the organization’s Teaching Tools Supply Store, where they can enjoy a shopping trip valued at $250 each.

To show their support, Costco Warehouse in Brandon also sent each teacher a $25 gift certificate.

An Adopt A Classroom page where donations can be made were also established.

The fire is said to be accidental, and is currently under investigation, but school officials said that the two classrooms directly affected by the flames will likely be ready for use by the end of September.

For more information, contact Frost Elementary 740-4900.