Students Return to Classrooms Damaged by Fire

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UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A section of a school in Luzerne County has finally reopened after it was badly damaged by a fire one week before the school year started.

Students at Northwest Middle/High School returned on Monday to classrooms that have been under renovation for months.

Photos show how bad the inside of Northwest Middle/ High School looked after a fire inside the school in August.

"It was a really rocky beginning. Everyone wasn't really sure what to do. The seventh graders were totally lost, including myself as a senior," said Georgia Karpovich.

Now, nearly four months later, the school looks better than ever.

This is the first day students have been able to use parts of the school since the fire.

"I definitely feel like everybody is feeling very happy about being upstairs. I know I had two different classes upstairs in the new rooms and the teachers were like really excited and everything," Karpovich said.

While the most serious damage was done in a second-floor hallway, the principal tells us the fire affected the entire school.

"Most of the damage was done by just the widespread soot and ashes that went throughout the building. The damage where the fire actually took place was more to lockers and ceilings," said Northwest Principal Ryan Miner.

Other parts of the building damaged by the fire included the auditorium and the library.

Workers had to clear each book of soot.

The portion of the building damaged by the fire is where seventh and eighth grade classes are held, and 18 classrooms in total were affected.

"We got a little creative. We had classrooms set up in the gymnasium. We had six classrooms set up with a divider. We used every available space, computer labs," Miner said.

Principal Miner says there are still many things the school must replace before it is completely back to where it was. Until then, he's happy this portion of the school has reopened and that the school community is stronger than ever.

"I definitely think I noticed a difference here, just see everybody kind of pitched in and grow closer together after a tragedy like you do oftentimes."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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