Kauai school reopens after damaging weekend blaze
LIHUE » Wilcox Elementary School reopened yesterday after a weekend fire caused $170,000 worth of damage to a portable classroom and its contents.
The special-education classroom, computers and specialized equipment for the special- needs students were destroyed in the Sunday morning fire, said Daniel Hamada, Department of Education Kauai Complex superintendent.
Hamada said it could have been worse if not for the quick action of Lions Club members getting ready for their annual pancake breakfast.
Cafeteria manager Michael Akana and local Lions Ed Santa Marie and Ron Garlie were able to grab hoses and water down the other two portable classrooms, less than a dozen feet away. It kept the fire contained until firefighters could arrive, Hamada added.
At school yesterday "it was business as usual" for students and teachers, Hamada said. The special-needs students were relocated to another classroom, and the rubble was blocked off to keep kids away.
Since the classroom was old, Hamada said, the Department of Education will send in investigators to make sure the charred remains do not contain hazardous materials like lead paint or asbestos.
Once the Department of Education gives the OK, fire officials will continue their investigation into the cause of the blaze, said county public information officer Mary Daubert.
A March 2003 blaze in the school's administration building caused an estimated $500,000 in damage. Arson was determined to be the fire's cause.