Caddo school board approves funding for scorched school

Caddo school board approves funding for scorched school

Caddo schools Tuesday approved funds to repair a Shreveport school damaged by fire and smoke last week.

The Caddo Parish School Board approved funds to repair Booker T. Washington High after a fire damaged the school last week. The cost of just the repairs is ballparked at $200,000 to $250,000 to clean up fire damage and soot and smoke residue.

That figure doesn't include computers, books and other items that were damaged or destroyed. The money will come from the district's capital project budget unless contractors working in the building at the time of the fire are found to be responsible. In that case, the board would ask to be reimbursed.

"There is quite a bit of smoke damage, the smoke was building up heavy," said Chief Fred Sanders of the Shreveport Fire Department. "Heavy, black smoke, and one of the contractors did have minor burns to his leg."

Last week, fire and thick smoke poured out of the windows of the school, after a fire started in the main hallway. While the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, initial reports indicate the fire may have started accidentally by a worker using a chemical product to strip the floor.

Clean up is well underway, and crews are working against the clock. School starts back up in early August, and there must be a safe, clean place for students to return.

Board members toured the flame-battered school today.

"Oh my goodness. It's just a river of emotions," said schools spokesman Bill Sharp. "Uh, first of all, the first thing is that no one was seriously injured, not hurt. That is a blessing.

"And of course, you know, we want again, to let the public know to make sure that this is ready and prepared for the beginning of the school year."

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