Yellowknife Catholic school board faces long-term displacement after blaze

Fire damage on the inside of the building is extensive, according to Yellowknife Catholic Schools superintendent Claudia Parker.

Superintendent estimates staff will have to work out of St. Patrick High School for at least 6 months

Damage from a fire that tore through this building earlier this week left extensive smoke, fire and water damage, according to Yellowknife Catholic Schools superintendent Claudia Parker. (Brandon Maher/CBC)

The head office of Yellowknife Catholic Schools will be closed for at least six months due to fire damage. Nobody was injured in the early Thursday morning blaze that forced the evacuation of an apartment.

"Right now, of course there's an issue in regards to air quality," said Claudia Parker, superintendent of the board.

"That's the biggest thing in regards to safety for our staff to be in the building … what I have told my staff is basically don't expect to be in that building before the start of the new school year, at least."

The school board has offices on each of the two floors of the building. There are also two apartments on the second floor, where most of the damage occurred.

Parker said that since the fire she has only been able to go in to grab her laptop.

"The damage upstairs is quite extensive," she said.

"There's fire damage, smoke and water damage upstairs. Downstairs it's basically smoke and water damage."

The board is insured through the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association. Members of the association flew in this week to complete an assessment of the building.

The N.W.T. Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating what caused the fire. Parker expects that work to wrap up next week.

For now, school board staff are working out of St. Patrick High School.