(February 18, 2006) -- A fire after midnight Saturday (Feb. 18) did significant damage to a kindergarten classroom at ELB's Emerson Parkside Academy Charter School (Willow St./Josie Ave.).
Clean-up was underway by midday and LBUSD officials vowed the fire won't interfere with instruction (which will be moved to other rooms on campus) when school resumes Tuesday after the George Washington holiday weekend.
"We are saddened that this fire has damaged our school, but we will not allow it to damage the education of our children," said Director (Principal) Cindy Young in a letter to parents posted on LBUSD's website. (To view the letter, click here).
The fire damaged Room 2 (southeast corner of the school where Josie meets Willow)...and principal Young said it's the same room where now-LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill once taught kindergarten.
Through an open window, we could see some of the damage done.
In a written release, LBUSD said "[s]ome equipment is missing from Room 2. Equipment and building damages could reach $300,000."
Principal Young's letter indicates that school resumes Tuesday, kindergarteners from Room 2 (about 20 kids) and adjacent Room 1 (another 20) and possibly Room 4 will be relocated to other rooms on campus (only kindergarteners are involved).
Principal Young was on scene at midday along with LBUSD staffers and other workers, surveying the damage and overseeing clean-up.
In her letter to parents, Principal Young writes, "We want to assure you that the education of students will not be disrupted as they return to school on Tuesday. Students will return to a safe and secure environment."
The school's fire alarms went off about 12:40 a.m.; LBFD doused the blaze in about ten minutes and the fire's cause remains under investigation. "[T]he incident appeared to be random and isolated," Principal Young's letter says.