The aftermath of a Monday morning gymnasium fire will close Whitefield Elementary School for the whole week, the principal said Tuesday.

Principal Joshua McNaughton said chemicals from a fire extinguisher used to put out a fire that started in a light fixture migrated to other parts of the building through open doors and a ventilation system, making it so two-thirds of the building has to be cleaned.

The fire started around 5 a.m. Monday, when McNaughton has said a light bulb blew, melting a plastic light covering and damaging an 8-square-foot area of the gym floor. A custodian, the only person in the building at the time, was able to put the fire out with an extinguisher.

McNaughton said school officials have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon meeting with insurance claims adjusters to assess the damage to the floor, which also closed the school Monday and Tuesday.

The school closure will also affect Town Meeting, which typically takes place at the school. Because the school will not be ready in time, Saturday’s ballot election and the business portion of the meeting will be moved to Calvary Bible Baptist Church, near the school on Grand Army Road. Ballot voting is 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and the meeting starts at 2 p.m.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652mshepherd@centralmaine.comTwitter: @mikeshepherdme@mikeshepherdme


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