Update on Oconto High School fire damage


OCONTO- Some students will return to the fire-damaged Oconto High School tomorrow.

Meanwhile, cleaning crews say they’re getting a clearer idea of which parts of the building are the most damaged.

Oconto School Board members received a first in-depth look at the fire damage to the high school Monday, as well as an update on the cleanup process.

“We found out that the smoke had travelled in a lot of areas that we didn’t necessarily anticipate. We are prepared to handle it. It’s just adding more definition to our scope from what we originally anticipated when we first saw it,” said J. Murphy.

Murphy, with Paul Davis National, says his cleaning crew of more than 200 people is working around the clock.

Items from classrooms have cleaned and stored in trailers.

Now, crews have now started to clean the building itself.

Originally the damage was thought to be around five million dollars.

“Probably a little bit below that. We were looking at that as a worst case scenario,” said Murphy.

Oconto Schools Superintendent says she’s feeling a little relieved.

“That’s wonderful. That’s super what’s coming out of the district pocket is five thousand dollars, that’s the deductible. But the rest is out of the local government trust fund,” said Superintendent Sara Croney.

The building does not have a sprinkler system. There are also no smoke detectors in the bathroom.

And because the fire was contained to that room, some students will return to class here Tuesday.

“We were told the good news is the tech ed area, they’re in tomorrow. All the wood shop, metal, auto body, electronic, they’re all shuttled each hour,” said Croney.

“Those rooms have doors that open up to the back parking lot so we can seal off the other doors that would open up into the hallways,” said Murphy.

Murphy says his crews promise to have the cleanup complete by May 12.

Teachers may be able to return to the building the first week of May to set up their classrooms.

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