School was out Monday and will continue to be closed Tuesday after an early-morning fire damaged a small part of the Whitefield Elementary School gymnasium floor.
Principal Joshua McNaughton said a custodian was in the gym at the school around 5 a.m. Monday when he heard a light bulb blow, melting plastic covering around the light and burning an 8-square-foot part of the floor. He said the custodian, the only person in the school at the time, put the resulting fire out with an extinguisher.
McNaughton said the extent of the damage to the floor is unknown, with officials awaiting a Tuesday afternoon meeting with insurance claims adjusters to assess the damage, which also closed the school Monday.
The principal said holding school Tuesday while closing off the gymnasium is “not a possibility,” as the school wants to ensure the chemicals used to extinguish the fire are cleaned up and alarm systems working properly before bringing children back inside the school.
All other schools in the town’s district, Regional School Unit 12 based in Somerville and also serving Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Windsor, Westport Island and Wiscasset, were open Monday.
Michael Shepherd — 370-7652