Parents of Parkcrest elementary students may need to keep their children home for the foreseeable future as a fire has gutted the school at 2170 Parkcrest Ave.
School District 73 is advising parents to make alternate arrangements for the supervision of their children on Friday, Sept. 6, and the following week — Sept. 9 to Sept. 13 — as the school remains closed indefinitely.
Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to a fire alarm at the Brocklehurst elementary school at about 5:08 p.m. on Thursday. By 6 p.m., it was apparent the school was on its way to being destroyed.
Kamloops-Thompson school district officials are meeting into Thursday night to plan where and when students from Parkcrest will eventually attend class.
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 loss of Parkcrest elementary school is devastating to the students of the school and the staff who worked in the building,” said SD73 superintendent Alison Sidow. “We are in the process of developing a plan to educate children at an alternate location. We are working diligently to ensure the emotional well being and continuity of education of our students.”
Updates on plans for school will be posted over the course of the next week online at parkcrest.sd73.bc.ca.
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said the city will work with the school district "to help ensure that the education of students can continue in a timely manner.”
Ten pieces of KFR apparatus — including two aerial devices, four fire engines and a rescue vehicle — were deployed within minutes to the blaze.
Flames could be seen engulfing the southwest side of the building as firefighters maintained hose lines on the fire. Pieces of the building could be seen and heard crumbling beginning at about 7:30 p.m.
As of 8:35 p.m., there were more than 30 firefighters on site, along with members of the RCMP and BC Emergency Health Services.
"KFR crews are working hard to control the blaze and will be on-scene for the next several hours. We are requesting everyone to stay clear of the area," said assistant KFR Fire Chief Steve Robinson. "Residents of the nearby area are advised to keep their windows closed to maintain their indoor quality."
While there were reportedly some custodians in the building at the time of the fire, SD73 has said the fire department confirmed everyone was able to get out of the building safely.
Firefighters are expected to be on scene into Thursday night, according to a City of Kamloops press release issued at 8:44 p.m.
When KTW left the scene at about 8 p.m., the flames appeared to be dying down, but many onlookers continued to watch behind police tape as the fire burned.
KFR is asking the public to stay away from the area as it is an active fire scene.
There has been no word on cause of the fire.