Chimney fire forces evacuation of parochial school; damage was minor
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.