Clean up crews say Oconto High School could re-open by May 12th

Published 04/18 2014 04:27PM

Updated 04/18 2014 07:09PM

OCONTO, Wis. (WFRV)-- The clean-up is underway at Oconto High School where a fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

Loss Specialists at Paul Davis National tell Local 5 News the clean-up is "enormous."

The hallways at Oconto High School are almost unrecognizable. 

The walls are charred and melted and much of the ceiling has been torn apart.

“Walls, lockers, cavities, basically anywhere air can travel, we have to clean.  We have to get in there, remove the soot and contaminates," said Paul Davis National Large Loss Specialist J. Murphy.

The school suffered severe smoke and water damage after a fire broke out Wednesday morning in the boy’s bathroom. 

Everyone made it out safely but the incident left many students shaken up.

“I remember looking behind me and seeing a big cloud of smoke and I knew it was pretty bad," said Gabe Hintz, an Oconto High School Sophomore.

Clean up crews are working around the clock to repair the damages which they estimate to be around $5 million.

Classes will be held at the middle school until the cleanup is complete.

“It’s going to be pretty crazy there because it’s going to be packed.  Trying to fit all the high school [students] and middle school [students] as well. I guess we’ll have to see and wait it out," said Hintz.

The clean up crew has set up a supply trailer so workers have access to all the tools they need.

“We start with an environmental test and the hygienists are in there right now evaluating all of the those cavities with air samples and swipe sampling," said Murphy.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Chief Dan Ault with the Oconto Police Dept.  called the fire suspicious.

Earlier in the week, the Oconto School District Superintendent, Dr. Sara Croney, said she believed it was a student.

“We’re reviewing security footage or video footage from inside the school.  We’re talking to teachers students and we’ll continue to do that," said Chief Ault.

Clean up crews tell us they hope to have the school re-opened by May 12th.

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