Officials were moving quickly to restore order and routine at Monsignor Scanlan High School, hit by a raging fire.
Students were moved to another school to take their mid-terms this week after being forced out by the three-alarm fire that severely damaged the school’s boiler room and some other facilities on Friday evening, Jan. 17.
By Tuesday, the 448 students at the Throggs Neck school were taking mid-term examinations at nearby St. Helena Parish Elementary School on Benedict Avenue.
School officials and faculty were to hold a parent information session Tuesday evening in Scanlan’s gym.
The blaze injured five firefighters and was mostly confined to a two-story brick building housing the boiler. The fire also managed to break through into the main building, damaging two labs, an office and a chapel altar and sacristy.
It was first reported with a 911 call at 6:10 p.m. Friday evening, 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 that there “with no injuries to any civilians that were in the building.”
Baylor said the fire extended into “a small part of the working school,” but there was “no fire damage to the classrooms.” It quickly spread to the cockloft of the brick extension attached to the 65-year-old school’s main classroom and administrative building, he said.
The fire was declared under control by 8:10 p.m. and was not declared suspicious, though the cause is still under investigation.
Ashley Torres, a 16-year-old 11th grader at the school who showed up at the fire 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 life goes on
Scanlan principal Dr. Patrick McGuire and Timothy McNiff , superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, toured the school the next day to examine the damage and make plans for a safe return to scholastic and extracurricular life.
According a WABC-TV news report, Dr. McGuire was the one who made the 911 call.
“We thank the NYFD and other agencies that were present Friday night,” McGuire said in a statement, “and, we thank God for His protection of our beloved school.”
The damaged areas were sealed off, and a school maintenance worker said on Tuesday that the school was in the “process” of making repairs.
The archdiocese said a temporary boiler was brought in Sunday, Jan. 19.
The school said that parents will receive periodic updates via the IRIS Emergency Alert System, with updates also posted at www.scanlanhs.edu.
Among the events already planned to go on as scheduled are a schoolwide Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and an open house for prospective students slated for Thursday, Jan. 23.
Scanlan’s sports teams practiced as planned in the gym, according to the archdiocese.
“It’s important that Thursday night’s Open House happens,” said diocesan schools spokeswoman Fran Davies. “They want to demonstrate they are alive and well and open.”