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St. Joseph’s high school students sent home after morning fire

‘The fire department continues to work to clear the smoke, so we are not permitted occupancy at this time,’ says board official

Barrie Fire crews responded to a small fire at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School on Cundles Road East in the city’s north end just before 9 a.m. today.

“A small fire was extinguished by school staff, but (there was) a lot of smoke,” assistant deputy fire chief Eric MacFadden told BarrieToday.

“Our crews were just helping with ventilation,” he said, noting there were no injuries. “It has been dealt with internally by the school.”

Pauline Stevenson, manager of communications with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, said there was a fire in one of the washrooms.

The school was safely evacuated, she added.

“The fire department continues to work to clear the smoke, so we are not permitted occupancy at this time, and so we’ve made a decision to dismiss the students for the day,” Stevenson said. 

According to a notice sent to parents, which has been obtained by BarrieToday, the board said buses are returning to the school to take students back home, “while walking students can make their way home as per usual.”

The school parking lot is closed and not accessible for student pick-up, the notice says.

“We will send a communication to let families know when the parking lot is open and accessible for student pick-up,” it says. “Students who cannot walk, take the bus or be picked up will be relocated to Monsignor Clair school, where staff supervision will be available.”

Students and staff have been told they are not permitted to enter the building to retrieve belongings, which may include text books, personal devices, house and car keys, etc. 

The school board says it will continue to provide updates and information to parents as it becomes available.

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