Palmer H.S. remains closed following fire, district wants to extend school days

Hampden County

Palmer High School students still haven’t returned to class after a fire last weekend.  

‘DO NOT ENTER’ signs remained stamped on the doors of the high school Wednesday night. 

The state Fire Marshal’s Office determined the cause of the Saturday morning fire was improper disposal of linseed-oil soaked rags that spontaneously combusted in the woodshop. 

While the fire damage was minimal, the smoke damage was significant. Items damaged by the smoke may carry carcinogens.

The school superintendent said they hoped to have kids back in school by March 25, more than two weeks after the fire. But the school won’t even be sure that’s possible, until some time next week. 

“I’ve been lucky, she was staying with her father, but for others, they’re home alone most of the time,” said Anne Brady, a parent.

To make up those days, the district wants to extend school days by 33 minutes, and they’ve asked the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to waive three days from their school year requirement. 

Students are still in class at the nearby old Mill Pond Elementary School. Staff members want to get back to work. 

“Went today, just to do the old mill pond, but Monday and Tuesday there was nothing,” Donna Croak, a staff member, told 22News. “Just wondering when school is going to start, and when we’re gonna get to work full time doing everything. We don’t work, we don’t get paid.”

If the state grants the school’s waiver, they still intend to graduate seniors on June 2. The school hopes to have a better idea next week about when they can return to the building.

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