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Students Adjust in Aftermath of Fire

November 17, 1998|TONY LYSTRA

Students at Flory Elementary School returned to campus Monday to assurances that classrooms damaged by fire on Friday would soon be repaired.

The blaze, which fire officials suspect may have been sparked by a faulty light fixture, gutted one classroom and charred another.

Students, parents and administrators gathered in the school's cafeteria Monday morning to quell the concerns of children forced to begin the week in new settings.

"We just want you to know that sometimes accidents happen and we go from there," Sandi Wells, chief information officer for the Ventura County Fire Department, told students.

The blaze forced fifth-grade teacher Susan Canfield to move into a portable classroom across campus. Alison Hennelly, a special education teacher whose room was reduced to a heap of muck, is now teaching in a room in the district office next to the school.

"My main concern is that we get the students calmed down and back into their main routine," Canfield said.

Fourteen firetrucks and 50 firefighters from Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Simi Valley responded to the blaze, which started just before 9 p.m. Friday and caused an estimated $250,000 damage.

Canfield said she doesn't know how long the students will be displaced. Staff members at the Moorpark school planned to place a donation box in the office to help Hennelly replace materials lost in the blaze.

"We're a very close staff," said Flory Principal Pam Hill. "When something like this happens, we all come together."

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