Memorial Day fire at Mahanoy Area closes school
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Heavy damage occurred Memorial Day when a fire ravaged a building at the Mahanoy City Area school complex, forcing the closing of school today and perhaps for the rest of the school year.
Hometown and other Schuylkill County fire companies, some wearing parade attire, spent their Memorial Day fighting a destructive fire at the Mahanoy City Area school complex that started just before 8 a.m. Monday morning.
The fire started in a the ceiling of a storage room located near the cafeteria. The fire broke out in the cafeteria complex. One witness stated, "Thick black billowing smoke shot out the school's glass front doors when firefighters opened them."
On a normal Monday, the complex holds about 1,000 elementary, middle and high school students during a school day. Fire officials also noted the heat of the blaze was so hot that steel beams holding the second floor began to sag.
Officials also stated that a visible crack is evidence that the building has settled from the fire, making the floor uneven.
"There is a lot of smoke and a lot of soot throughout most of the entire complex which will take a long time to clean up," stated Mahanoy City Chief Randy Kalce. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Some firefighters were seen wearing suits and ties as they were preparing for a numerous Memorial Day parades throughout the area. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion. No serious injuries were reported.
Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and school officials haven't stated if classes will still be held the remainder of the year.