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Heidi Shaffer, Published November 11 2010

Intent ruled out in Lidgerwood school blaze

Fire investigators have determined a Tuesday fire at the Lidgerwood (N.D.) Public School wasn’t intentionally set, said Deputy Fire Marshal Jerry Crane.

Crane was in the school Wednesday afternoon, and will likely continue his investigation into the blaze on Friday, he said.

The fire, which destroyed at least two classrooms, broke out shortly after 5 p.m. as crowds gathered in the gymnasium for a regional volleyball tournament, which was relocated to Lisbon. No injuries were reported.

Classes for the approximately 180 K-12 students won’t likely resume until at least next Wednesday, said Principal and Superintendent Tony Grubb.

School officials will continue discussing where classes can be relocated.

High school students will likely go to Wyndmere Public School, Grubb said. Elementary students will likely be sent to different facilities in Lidgerwood, similar to the arrangement school leaders made when another fire struck the school in 1999, Grubb said.

School was canceled Wednesday, but classes weren’t scheduled today because of the Veterans Day holiday and Friday because the high school’s football team is playing in the state championships, Grubb said.

Damage to the building has not yet been determined, but an insurance adjuster toured the damage Wednesday. Another adjuster is expected today, Grubb said.

The fire Tuesday was more extensive than the 1999 blaze, which caused $300,000 in damage, Grubb said, who has been at the school for 13 years.

A staff meeting to discuss classes is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at the Lidgerwood Museum.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511