Police estimate damage to Barrie school at about $1 million
Published Saturday, June 7, 2014 11:00AM EDT Last Updated Monday, June 9, 2014 3:47PM EDT
About $1 million – that’s the estimate Barrie police are giving today for damage done in an arson at Assikinack Public School this weekend.
Officers are out canvassing the neighbourhood today, looking for anyone who may have seen something early Saturday morning when suspects broke into the school and started a fire in one of the classrooms.
The Simcoe County District School Board said smoke from the fire caused significant damage to the inside of the school, which is why it won't reopen this year. Restoration has started and will continue over the summer.
The board has cancelled classes for today and is expected to announce where students will attend school for the rest of the year.
Alison LaMantia, manager of communications at the board, says clean-up crews are removing shoes from the school, and the footwear will be professionally cleaned before getting them back to students by the end of the year. They are also gathering desk items.
Investigators with Barrie police and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office were at Assikinack Public School all weekend looking into the fire, which they're calling suspicious.
“Preliminary investigations will have the school closed for significant amount of time, possibly the remainder of the school year,” Barrie police Det. Const. Justin Frye told CTV News Saturday.
A forensic investigator was at the school collecting evidence at the back door, which is where officers think suspects broke into the school to start the fire.
The fire happened at about 2 a.m. Saturday and officers responded after the school’s security alarm went off. When they arrived, the halls were filled with thick black smoke. Firefighters were able to contain the flames to one classroom, but the smoke spread to about two-thirds of the building.
“There is one area including a classroom that has been heavily damaged by fire and approximately two thirds of the school has significant smoke damage throughout,” said Frye.
It’s still unclear how the fire started. And at this point investigators don’t have any leads on suspects. They’re looking for any information.
- With files from Rob Cooper and Mike Walker