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Parkcrest elementary appears to have been gutted as a fire at the Brocklehurst school continues to burn at 7 p.m. on Thursday, almost two hours after it began.
While firefighters try to douse the flames at the Brocklehurst school, the fire appears to keep growing, with a portion of the building falling from the southwest side as flames leapt from inside. A woman watching, who has children attending the school, told KTW the primary wing appears to be seriously damaged as that is where a portion of the building collapsed at about 6:30 p.m.
Kamloops Fire Rescue crews were called out to 2170 Parkcrest Ave. just after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon following reports of black smoke coming from the rooftop.
As of 7 p.m., at least six fire trucks remain on scene, along with two ambulances and Kamloops Mounties conducting traffic control on Parkcrest Avenue. A ladder truck could be seen pouring water from above while firefighters were standing away from the building.
Diana Skoglund, communication manager for School District 73, told KTW all senior staff are at the school district staff, working on a plan for the 350-plus students who attend Parkcrest.
She said it is “way too early” to know where the students will be attending class in the coming days and weeks.
“That’s exactly what tonight’s work is for,” she said, noting all superintendents and other staff are meeting to determine needs and plan for the next weeks.
“Everyone is on hand, ready to support parents, students and staff at this time,” Skoglund said.
As for the state of the Parkcrest building and any word on a cause, she replied: “We have had a little information from the fire department — and it’s not looking good.”
Whether the students are relocated to the former Happyvale elementary on Holt Street (now home to the Big Little Science Centre) or to available space in North Shore schools or to portables remains to be determined.
The fire initially appeared to be coming from the roof near the middle of the school, with a large plume of dark smoke visible from across the city.
The cause and origin of the fire is as yet unknown.
The woman at the scene said she heard janitors were in the school when the fire ignited. She said she heard they had escaped without injury.
As the fire raged, more than 100 people gathered across from the school to watch firefighters try to douse the flames, with many staring in disbelief and shock. Some people could be seen hugging each other.
Parkcrest elementary had an enrolment of approximately 360 students in 2018.