The Town of Fort Frances has received notice from the Rainy River District School Board that it is being sued in relation to the explosion and fire that destroyed the gymnasium at J.W. Walker School back on Feb. 28, 2008.
Town council received a statement of claim from the public school board last week, and it was an item during the in-camera session of the committee of the whole at their Dec. 14 meeting.
Mayor Roy Avis said he couldn’t comment on the legal matter.
A representative from the school board, passing on a message from Education Director Jack McMaster, requested questions be held off until the new year.
A statement of claim is defined as the first step in a civil suit.
According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the plaintiff prepares a statement of claim, which contains a concise statement of material (i.e. legally significant) facts on which the plaintiff relies.
The court issues the statement of claim.
The plaintiff serves the statement of claim on all defendants and files an affidavit of service with the court.
If the defendant does not defend the action, this affidavit of service is necessary for the plaintiff to obtain default judgment.
Rolf Waffler, an investigator from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, said the cause of the explosion was a leak in a gas main.
The natural gas was able to enter the building along a watermain, where it accumulated in the building.
The explosion, which occurred at night when no one was in the school, happened in the boys’ change room by the gym.
No one was injured in the incident, which also prompted the evacuation of nearby residences and hotels.