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Holiday school fire creates challenges

Insurance deductible puts pressure on budget

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Restoration crews begin work in the Faith Lutheran School gymnasium

EDMONTON - Sometime during the early morning of December 29 a fire started in the furnace room of the gym at Faith Lutheran School. Quick response from the fire department limited the spread of the flames, but smoke and water damage extended to the school library and sports equipment room. Soot and carbon deposited throughout the school via heating ducts required a complete cleanup of all surfaces and materials and air scrubbers with HEPA filters in each room to insure air quality standards. The fire also damaged the roof, and firemen removed a section to fight the flames.

Working with the insurance company, school administrators created an action plan to address the damage and repairs. A local cleaning and disaster restoration company managed a complete cleanup of classroom areas within five days, enabling the school to reopen January 6. The gym wing of the school will undergo a full cleanup and repairs, and should be ready to reopen by the end of February.

The extent of damage to the school requires replacing four furnaces, the hot water heater, all library books, library computers, all bulletin board materials, and all sports equipment, with the exception of metal standards and large gymnastic equipment. The students and staff are thankful for the offers of help extended by staff at Concordia High School and St. Nicholas Catholic Junior High, next door.

“Offers of help are much appreciated,” stated Faith principal Ken Albinger “Naturally there is going to be a major cost to the school, as both our contents and building insurance policies have a substantial deductible, which we will have to meet out of our very limited income revenues.” Mr. Albinger noted that at this time this school is not accepting donations of new or used books for the library or sporting goods until all repairs and rooms have been reopened. He asked the church-at-large for continued support through prayer. “We would also like to encourage members of our church in the Edmonton area to consider sending their children to Faith, or to join the Edmonton Lutheran School Society to actively support the ongoing development of Lutheran schooling in our city.”

When staff and students began their first day back with a chapel service–—a day late—school chaplain, Pastor Rich Docekal (All Saints, Edmonton), offered thanks that there were not injuries as a result of the fire and that those involved with the cleanup have been so helpful. The school’s program will continue with only minor disruptions to the education of the students.

Inquiries and words of encouragement may be sent to Faith Lutheran School, 11515-36 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5W 2A9, e-mail

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