A flash fire damaged a Chicago public school this weekend on the North Side, just two weeks before the first day of class. The fire broke out in the third-floor gym of Burley Elementary School, 1630 W. Barry Ave., on Saturday in the Lakeview neighborhood. In an email to parents, the principal of Burley said, “We are still unsure of exactly what and how it happened, but what I do know is that no one was on that floor when it happened and no one was injured.”
The sprinkler system put out the fire but also caused collateral water damage throughout building. Families and staff pitched in Monday to paint and do a number of projects. Portable generators, makeshift ventilation and restoration teams are racing against the clock. The principal gave credit to firefighters and CPS for efforts in the past two days, but CPS is caught in a time crunch.
CPS is left unable to answer how long cleanup will take, or if school will begin on time on Sept. 4 at Burley and if there are safety issues surrounding not only the water damage, but how the fire began with no one in that area. The principal asked parents to “please be patient with me as we let the experts do what they are best at and know that Burley is in great hands.”
In a statement, CPS said that it anticipates the school will be repaired for the first day but is creating a contingency plan. They said they’re waiting on investigators to determine how the fire began.