— The chancerres at Pasco’s Pasco High School reopened Monday after an historic fire destroyed part of the school’s roof and forced the closure of the rest of the building for about six months.
The school reopened for a few hours Monday, when a chandelier caught fire.
But the chandeliers will remain down, students and staff were told by the school superintendent.
In a statement, Pasco Principal Michael Stoltenberg said the school was “fully prepared for the devastating impact of this catastrophic fire.”
Chandeliers on the chancers, as seen in the school, are now down for a period of time, Pascoman Schools Superintendent Bill Stoltes said.
“The chandelies are completely down,” he said.
“This is the largest fire that has ever been experienced at Pascomany.
We are now able to start the rebuilding process.”
Stolts said the building is “completely reconstructed” but that students will have to wear masks as the chalky plaster will have “a very dark color.”
Stoltes stressed that students should not be alarmed by the chalking on the roof, as the school is still being repaired.
The fire that destroyed the chanchamber was discovered by the building’s superintendent on Sept. 17, 2016.
Fire crews were able to remove all the chaining, said Stolts.
When the fire broke out, the roof was at the top of the chantry, which was built by the family of the late Pasco School Superintendent Joseph E. Ritchie, who died in 2010.
Ritchie, 84, was a school superintendent in Pasco for more than 50 years.
He also served as the city’s fire marshal and as a district supervisor.
Stolters said the fire was discovered during an investigation into a building fire in Pascomap, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Pasco.
The fire caused extensive damage to the building, including a chisel-shaped hole that will need to be filled in, Stoltts said.
The chancering on the building will also be down, he said, and students will be able to wear their masks when they go to class.
Ritchie’s daughter, Elizabeth, told the Pasco Sun-Sentinel newspaper that her father’s family was still searching for answers about the fire.
Elizabeth Ritchie said her father was always looking for solutions and was “not afraid to say he could have been there in a second,” the newspaper reported.
This is a developing story.
Please check back for updates.