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Classes resume at John Taylor after basement fire

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Students at John Taylor Collegiate got some unexpected time off last week after a number of costumes caught fire in a storage room in the school’s basement.

The fire, caused by an electrical short on the east side of the building beneath one of the school’s two gymnasiums, started around 9 a.m. on Oct. 23, forcing the school’s evacuation.

Extensive smoke damage and poor air quality forced the cancellation of classes for the week, which were expected to resume Mon., Oct. 29, said Brett Lough, assistant superintendent for the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. |

"I’m sure the kids are going to be really disappointed," Lough joked during an interview.

Late last week, crews were still cleaning up and testing air quality in the school, Lough said.

The storage room housed some equipment, along with costumes belonging to the school’s art department, Lough said.

While a few costumes were burned, most suffered smoke damage, which will be sent out for professional cleaning, he said.

"We’re hoping to salvage most of the costumes, which will certainly be appreciated by the arts department," Lough said.

Lough was unable to provide an estimate on the amount of damage caused by the fire, though media reports have pegged the total at $150,000.

Evacuated students were sent to neighbouring Hedges Middle School and Buchanan School. No injuries were reported.

School principal Scott Lockhart and the teaching staff will ensure extra help is available to assist students get caught up with their class work, Lough said.

The division will take direction from the province on whether or not to add more teaching days to make up for the lost class time, he said.

— Staff

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