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High school campus in Elizabeth, Pa., remains closed two weeks after fire

Feb. 24, 2023
Students at Elizabeth Forward High School are taking their classes online while the district continues to assess damage.

A high school in Elizabeth, Pa., remains closed to in-person instruction after a fire earlier this month caused significant damage.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that students at Elizabeth Forward High School will continue with online classes while workers assess damage and try to get the campus up and running again.

The district says further demolition of the school’s auditorium is needed to give crews access to a mechanical room that is key to the building’s operation.

A four-alarm fire swept through the auditorium on Feb. 12, and students have been learning remotely since.

Structural engineers have determined that additional parts of the auditorium need to be razed for them to complete an evaluation of the facility’s electrical equipment.

Elizabeth Forward District Superintendent Keith Konyk said that once engineers gain access to the space, they will be able to “determine if the current electrical switchgear is functional or if we need to continue pursuing secondary electrical options.”

No one was injured in the fire.

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, concerns about structural damage and the risk of collapse in the auditorium forced crews to work from outside. An exterior wall appeared to have buckled and cracked. No injuries were reported.

Konyk said the fire had been contained to the auditorium and the stage. The lobby, the music wing and several hallways leading to the media center sustained water damage. Smoke damage, however, has affected the entire building.

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