Tech school plans for fire's aftermath

| 28 Mar 2012 | 03:11

    Sparta — In the aftermath of the March 14 fire in a biology and chemistry lab at Sussex County Technical School, which forced the school to close for three days, Interim Superintendent/Principal Anthony J. Marino has updated the school community. The school was closed through and including Friday, March 23, and Macerino noted that the eight affected classrooms, Child Study Team offices and the office of a professional counselor were to be moved. On Monday, March 26, students and staff were told to report to McNeice Auditorium for an assembly, during which a revised schedule and location of classrooms was distributed. Students whose lockers were located in the affected area on the second floor were to receive new locker numbers and combinations in the McNeice building in the vicinity of the relocated homerooms. Macerino's advisory also pointed out that environmental protocols for locker contents had not been determined but students would be informed as soon as possible about the personal contents of lockers. General access to the school is limited to personnel requested to report and student athletes, who should take direction from their coaches. Environmental impact statement "Throughout this entire incident our primary concern has been health and safety of our students and staff members," Macerino wrote. "The entire clean-up process has been guided from the recommendations made by Hillmann Consulting, LLC. The Hillmann Consulting group did extensive testing for airborne and surface zinc contamination, airborne and surface combustion by products and bulk asbestos testing. There were no positive results for airborne zinc or airborne combustion by products in any areas of the building. There were elevated surface levels of zinc detected in the science room that caught on fire, however all remaining surfaces tested for zinc in the building were not at a level of concern. In addition, indoor air quality testing was conducted on both the first and second floors as well as in some unaffected areas of the first floor. Some classrooms were elevated due to cleaning activities which took place prior to the inspection, in addition elevated levels were observed in the science classroom where the fire originated which was expected. All remaining areas tested were within acceptable levels. Appropriate environmental protocols have been implemented on the second floor to address surface contamination related to the fire. These protocols address proper cleaning methods along with properly sealing areas of contamination from the remainder of the building to prevent any cross contamination." Macerino's report went on to say: "the school does not contain asbestos-containing building materials and to be a health hazard the asbestos must be disturbed or in poor condition, therefore rendering the material to be friable. Friable asbestos-containing materials were in the second floor hallway and the second floor science classroom, however it was not disturbed, therefore there is no cause for any health concerns. There will bean asbestos abatement of the entire second floor hallway floor tile and associated mastic and in the second floor science classroom along with some table tops in the science room..." As for the school calendar, the board of education will make adjustments at its March 29 meeting, Macerino reported. For more information contact Macerino at amacerino@sussex.tec.nj.