Chim­ney fire forces evac­u­a­tion of parochial school; dam­age was mi­nor

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS -

A CHIM­NEY FIRE FORCED two teach­ers and 19 stu­dents to evac­u­ate the build­ing at a parochial school on Road 116 in Wellesley Mon­day. Dam­age was es­ti­mated at $10-15,000.

Town­ship fire chief Paul Red­man said the dam­age was con­tained to one area, keep­ing costs rel­a­tively low.

Im­prop­erly stored com­bustibles were re­spon­si­ble for the cause of the fire. Stu­dents and teach­ers were per­mit­ted into the school the next day, how­ever they can­not use the wood­burn­ing fur­nace un­til it is re­paired. Red­man noted there will be ad­di­tional costs to bring the school up to cur­rent build­ing and fire codes.

“There will be costs as­so­ci­ated with mak­ing the school fire code and build­ing code-com­pli­ant, as well as the chim­ney sys­tem cer­ti­fied,” said Red­man. “I am not sure what the costs for those or­ders will be but it could eas­ily dou­ble the cost.”

Changes have al­ready quickly been made to the build­ing.

“The per­son I spoke with this morn­ing is get­ting a CO (car­bon monox­ide) de­tec­tor for in­side the class­room and look­ing at a kerosene heater for the time be­ing,” said Red­man. “If it gets to cold they will tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cate.”

All three town­ship fire sta­tions – Lin­wood, St. Cle­ments and Wellesley – re­sponded to the call.

“I think we got a pretty good turnout for a week­day,” said Red­man of the emer­gency re­sponse. “We had about 25 fire­fight­ers there. They got it stopped be­fore it ex­tended into the build­ing. So it could have been a lot worse than it was; if it had been an­other 10 min­utes or so, we prob­a­bly would have been fight­ing a fire in the whole school.”


Fire­fight­ers from all three Wellesley Town­ship sta­tions re­sponded to fire at a parochial school on Mon­day. The chim­ney fire cre­ated a fair bit of smoke, but it was con­tained to one area and dam­age was re­ported to be mi­nor.

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