On Wednesday, February 11, a fire broke out in one of the washrooms at Stanley Humphries Secondary. Principal Aaron McKenzie extinguished the fire and there were no injuries, but staff and students were evacuated from the building.
School staff are currently working in tandem with RCMP, School District 20 maintenance staff and the Fire Department to determine the cause. As of now, it is suspected to be a case of vandalism.
After the students were evacuated, and the scene assessed, they were allowed in the school once more to retrieve any critical belongings and then were sent home for the remainder of the day. School was expected to resume on Thursday but Superintendent Greg Luterbach has released a statement explaining more work needed to be done.
“Given our need to clean the school and deal with the smoke damage Stanley Humphries Secondary School will be closed to students and staff on Thursday, February 12,” Luterbach said in an email, “SHSS students should not show up at the school on Thursday or take the bus in. The school will remained locked in order to secure all of the materials within it and to ensure we can proceed promptly with the clean-up. At this time, should any student have any critical items that absolutely need to be picked up prior to the school reopening please assemble in the front parking lot on Thursday between 2 and 3pm. No one will be allowed to enter the school except for district staff members who will be there to enter the building and pick up the specific, critical item.”
A specialist team is traveling to Castlegar from the Okanagan to help with smoke damage remediation. They will begin cleaning on Thursday.
“We are unsure how long the clean-up will take but our goal is to have staff and students back in school as soon as it is safe,” Luterbach wrote.