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Heidi Shaffer, Published November 12 2010

FIRE MARSHAL: Classroom stove sparked Lidgerwood school fire

LIDGERWOOD, N.D. – An unused classroom stove caused Tuesday’s fire at Lidgerwood Public School, said Deputy Fire Marshal Jerry Crane.

Papers and other combustibles placed on the stovetop ignited when someone accidentally flipped on a breaker that operated the stove, Crane said.

English classes were held in the room, which used to serve as a home economics laboratory, Crane said.

The stove had not been used for a “number of years,” Crane said, and over time the knobs to the burners were turned to an “on” position.

The fire was accidental and no charges are being considered, Crane said.

The blaze that started about 5 p.m. Tuesday night completely destroyed two classrooms and caused smoke damage throughout the building.

Damage estimates were not available Friday, but principal and Superintendent Tony Grubb said the fire Tuesday was larger than a 1999 blaze that caused $300,000 in damage to the school.

Classes will likely resume Wednesday, with high school students attending Wyndmere Public School and grades K-8 being divided among facilities in Lidgerwood.

For more on this story, read Saturday’s Forum.