Greenfield, MA – Sprinkler system activated for fire at public school

Police and fire officials are investigating the cause of a small fire at Four Rivers Charter Public School on Tuesday morning that resulted in an early dismissal.

It was later announced that the Colrain Road school would be closed on Wednesday to allow teachers a chance to regroup and consider how to move forward.

A small fire in a high school bathroom set off the fire alarm and sprinkler system, causing “significant” damage throughout the building, according to an email sent to families from Acting Head of School Zevey Steinitz. The building will likely not be in use for at least a couple of weeks while crews work to repair the water damage.

“Along with solving the practical problem of where to house our high school for the next couple of weeks, our main goal is to restore a sense of safety for our community,” Steinitz wrote to families.

Classes for middle school students are expected to resume on Thursday.

“We are currently reaching out to local community resources for options for our high school program and already have some promising leads,” Steinitz wrote.

According to Fire Chief Robert Strahan, firefighters responded to the school at around 10 a.m. to a report of a fire alarm.

“Crews found smoke conditions and a sprinkler activation upon arrival,” he said. “They were able to quickly identify a small fire. That fire was extinguished very quickly.”

According to an email sent to the community earlier in the day, school officials were given approval to release students at both the middle school and high school.

Buses were scheduled to transport regular riders, and students who needed to stay until the end of the day were supervised in the Farmhouse, according to the email.

Steinitz declined to comment further when reached by phone on Tuesday. In her email to families, she advised that to prevent the spread of rumors, any information students or parents have that may be relevant should be shared with either her or Dean of Students Matt Leaf.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Greenfield Fire Department, detectives from the Greenfield Police Department and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“The agencies were on scene for several hours while the investigation was being conducted,” Strahan said.