The task of rebuilding after a second major fire has begun at Dos Palos High School.
A major fire on Sept. 14 destroyed two classrooms, damaged two others and left one wing of the school unusable for the foreseeable future.
The fire in the early morning hours started because of a malfunction in the blower motor of an air conditioning unit, according to fire investigators.
And while no official damage estimate has been given, Dos Palos/Oro Loma Joint Unified School District Superintendent Megan Grijalva said the loss would be “in the millions.”
While the good news is no injuries were reported in the blaze, which was fought by fire agencies from all over Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties, the adjustment for students and staff when they returned to school five days after the fire has been daunting.
“The whole wing (that caught on fire) is inhabitable,” Grijalva explained. She said that the district’s priorities were the safety of the students and staff members and getting students back in the classroom learning.
The school’s library will now be used for some classes, and other classes will be held in open classrooms in the Ag and Industrial Arts department.
Grijalva added that students and staff have been “unbelievably accommodating” in adjusting to the aftermath of the fire.
“We had an assembly on Monday to explain to the students what happened and that we will support them and what it is going to take to move forward,” she said. “The students and staff members are ready to go.”