⏩ Students return to Bethel Middle School after Sunday’s fire.
BETHEL — Middle school students were back in the classroom Tuesday after starting the week with a day off due to a small weekend fire.
The Sunday afternoon fire was contained to a custodial storage room, but damaged the two electrical panels that power the music classrooms, Superintendent Christine Carver said. Since the school could not open on partial power, classes had to be canceled Monday, she said.
“There really was not a lot of damage,” Carver said.
A cord to an appliance appears to have overheated, igniting a cardboard box in the storage room, the fire inspector told district officials. The sprinkler system turned on immediately.
“The sprinkler system did exactly as it was designed to do,” Carver said.
The fire department responded, rushing off soon after to battle the massive fire in a building in Clarke Business Park that was called in about a half-hour later.
A company cleaned the water on the floor on Sunday, but the fire inspector returned the next day to determine the cause of the fire, Carver said.
The school board planned to discuss at its Tuesday meeting whether the middle school would have to make up the lost day, she said.
The state requires towns to have 180 school days, but Bethel has 181 days, meaning the middle school would be allowed to finish school on June 12 with the rest of the district, Carver said.
The bus company would need to be paid if the middle school makes up the day, she said.
But one extra day of school would not negatively affect the renovations to Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools, Carver said. Students were given a long summer this year, with children finishing weeks earlier than last year and not scheduled to return until after Labor Day, to maximize construction time.
Students returned to Bethel Middle School on Tuesday after a small fire on Sunday closed the school on Monday.