BREAKING NEWS – A three-alarm fire ripped through historic Monsignor Scanlan High School Friday night, injuring five firefighters.
The blaze was mostly confined to an attached building containing the school’s boiler.
Unfortunately, the fire hit in the middle of mid-terms at the Throggs Neck school, with below-freezing temperatures predicted for the coming week.
Fire officials said the blaze was first reported with a 911 call at 6:10 p.m., with the fire rapidly spreading to three alarms, with 33 units and 138 firefighters responding to the school on Lafayette and Brush avenues just next to the Hutchinson River Parkway.
FDNY spokesman Khalid Baylor said the five firefighters received minor injuries and were being treated at area hospitals, “with no injuries to any civilians that were in the building.”
Baylor said the fire started in the boiler room and quickly spread to the cockloft of the brick extension attached to the 65-year-old school’s main classroom and administrative building.
WABC-TV quoted Assistant Fire Chief William Seelig saying “It was just a long tedious process. They were chasing fire from one floor to another but they were able to cut the fire off before it extended into the main five-story building.”
The station reported that the school’s principal, Dr. Patrick McGuire, noticed fire in the school’s two-story boiler room and called 911.
FDNY spokesman Baylor said the fire extended into “a small part of the working school,” but there was no fire damage to the classrooms.”
“We do have a situation where there’s oil in the boiler that leaked out,” with firefighter dealing with it, he said, adding that the fire was declared under control at 8:10 p.m.
The fire was not declared suspicious, he said, but the cause is still under investigation.
Ashley Torres, a 16-year-old 11th grader at the school who showed up with her father David, said she was worried about the coming week.
“We’re in the middle of mid-terms now,” said Torres, one of 448 students at the ninth-12th grade school, who lives a few blocks away.
“I’m in shock,” she said as she stood at the corner as fire units and ambulances gathered up equipment under the glare of floodlights. “My friends are in shock.”
“At least there was no one hurt inside the building,” added her father.
School and diocesan officials were not immediately available for comment.