Clean up begins after a fire damages part of a Kansas school.">

School Fire

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Monday, Dec. 6, 2004

Nearly 200 students of St. Patrick Catholic School in Kingman are wondering when they can return to their classrooms.

“I’m glad I get three days out of school,” says Kennedy Fischer, a first grader at the school.

Some students like Allen Schonlau are at a loss with the unexpected break.

“I don’t know what to do anymore because school’s out,” says Schonlau, a St. Patrick fifth grader. “I don’t really know what to do.”

How long the break is, depends on how quickly this damage can be cleaned up.

“We do have quite a bit of fire damage in the office area,” says Kristin Schmitz, St. Patrick principal. “We have quite a bit of water and smoke damage throughout the building.”

The cause of Sunday’s fire is left undetermined until results of tests are returned to investigators.

“The main problem is the smoke damage throughout the school,” says Kingman Fire Department Chief Steve Drosselmeyer.

A preliminary damage estimate is $50,000. The principal is certain the community will help.

Even though the fire broke through the building’s roof, it didn’t destroy student’s desks, books or chalkboards.

School officials are now looking throughout Kingman for alternative classrooms to meet in because the cleanup could continue through the Christmas break.

Parents will meet with school officials Tuesday night to hear what’s planned.

The principal says it might be overly optimistic to think the building can be ready for students to return on Thursday. But, they hope to be able to determine when school can resume by Tuesday night’s mandatory meeting with parents.

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