School officials give inside look at Baker Elementary after fire

School officials give inside look at Baker Elementary after fire

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico County Public School officials are giving a look inside Baker Elementary School two days after a fire damaged the building and canceled classes.

Firefighters say the fire appears to be an accident and was electrical.

Starting Wednesday, students will start classes at three separate schools depending on their grade.

Halls still decorated with students' artwork are now covered in darkness. Air machines are running to get rid of the smell of smoke.

"We'll step right under here, please watch out, there's a lot of cords," says Susan Moore, HCPS director of construction and maintenance.

Crews are working to determine what can be repaired and what needs to be replaced.

"Some of the ceiling tiles came down on their own due to water damage," says Moore.

It's the first time we're getting a look at the damage inside Baker Elementary two days after a fire erupted in the mechanical room which runs the power, heating, air and water.

"We can't put kids into the building until we get power back on and get all the systems back up and running and in good functioning condition," says Moore.

Several classrooms have water and smoke damage. Room 12 has the most damage, but there is a silver lining: firefighters were able to save a lot of the materials and furniture by pushing it to the middle of the room.

School leaders say it's now all about putting the students well being first. That includes keeping bus stops the same when Baker students begin attending other schools.

Still, some students will have to arrive earlier because those campuses - Varina, Mehfound and New Bridge Learning Center - are farther away.

"We sought to minimize the change in bus stop times, we want families to be confident to see that same familiar bus, that same familiar driver," Josh Davis, HCPS director of pupil transportation.

It's an effort to maintain some normalcy for students facing a new environment starting Wednesday.

School officials are also asking for donations of school supplies. Click here for the full list and where you can send donations.

Donations can also be dropped off at any Five Below or Walgreens stores in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield.

If you have any donations that need to be picked up, organizers from CFKPARADE will pick it up on Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Ricky Johnson at 804-774-0099 if you would like to coordinate a pickup.

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