⏩ Stu­dents re­turn to Bethel Mid­dle School af­ter Sun­day’s fire.

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Julia Perkins

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.

Hearst Con­nec­tic­cut Me­dia file photo

Stu­dents re­turned to Bethel Mid­dle School on Tues­day af­ter a small fire on Sun­day closed the school on Mon­day.

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