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UPDATED: Kinnaird Elementary to reopen Friday after fire

Kinnaird Elementary School in Castlegar will reopen Friday following a small fire in a light fixture in the gym.

In a note to parents, superintendent Katherine Shearer said air quality testing was conducted Thursday and all areas of the school were found to be within normal limits.

However, the gym will not be accessible as operations staff complete repairs.

The fire was noticed just after the dismissal bell on Wednesday and the alarm was pulled at 2:26 p.m. The building was evacuated and the fire department put it out.

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Fire chief Sam Lattanzio pegged damage at about $10,000. He said while the fixture itself wasn’t very expensive, there was same damage to the gym flooring from the light dropping on to the floor.

“What happened was the LED fixture suffered a failure in its circuit/lights resulting in a short, then fire,” he said. “We know that the breakers did trip eventually to the fixture but not right away.”

A similar fire also occurred in the gym at Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar in March 2022, causing about $100,000 damage.

Lattanzio said he wasn’t sure if the fixtures in both fires were identical, but said gym lights are prone to being hit with balls.

“They do have cages over them, however repeated ball strikes eventually take its toll,” he said.

He praised Kinnaird school staff for doing an “amazing” job evacuating the building, accounting for everyone, and their initial attack on the fire.

Meanwhile, the Crescent Valley fire department was called to Brent Kennedy Elementary in South Slocan this morning.

In a Facebook post, they said they soon discovered a fluorescent light ballast had overheated and had caused a burning electrical smell.

Superintendent Trish Smillie said the smell was noticed before students arrived. After the fire department left, classes proceeded as usual.

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