St. Michael’s to resume classes as scheduled

Although a Christmas Eve fire at St. Michael’s School left one classroom severely damaged and the rest of the building with minor smoke damage, classes are set to resume there as scheduled on Monday.
Chris Howarth, superintendent of business for the Northwest Catholic District School Board, said students in the affected classroom will be relocated to a portable one.
The rest of the school will be conducted with business as usual.
The damaged classroom will be blocked off, Howarth explained, but the rest of the school is safe and in good shape.
A contractor has been in painting and cleaning the rest of the building in preparation for Monday’s classes—and to ensure the smell of smoke is eliminated.
As for the damaged classroom, Howarth said it’s going to be a long process to make all the repairs since the damage was quite extensive.
In fact, he expects students from that class will spend most of the rest of the school year in the portable classroom.
The Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service responded to the report of a fire alarm at the school around 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 24.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed heavy smoke and flames coming from the southeast windows and roof area of the building.
They were on the scene for about three-and-a-half hours.
The building was unoccupied at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported.
An investigation by the local fire department and OPP concluded that although the origin of the fire was undetermined, there were no suspicious circumstances and foul play is not suspected.