CHICAGO (CBS) — Arson investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire at a Norwood Park elementary school, as kids are forced to go to class at another school on Wednesday.
School officials said there is smoke contamination inside William J. Onahan Elementary School, a day after a fire in the auditorium. As a result, after kids were dropped off at Onahan on Wednesday, they were bused to Taft High School for classes.
Fire Department officials said a fire started in the Onahan auditorium Tuesday evening, after students had been dismissed for the day. Smoke filled several hallways and classrooms.
A neighbor said alarms had gone off at the school Tuesday morning, then again in the evening.
“So when they went off tonight, I told my husband, I said, ‘Oh they’re just going off again.’ And I looked, and I’m like, ‘Holy crap, there’s flames coming out of the windows,'” Denise King said. “That is the auditorium, and that’s where the stage is. So I thought maybe the curtains were on fire, because the curtains go all the way up. That whole window was flames.”
Labeela Azar, who lives a few blocks away, said her daughter was hysterical when they saw flames shooting from the building.
“Who’s in there? You want to go help, and do whatever you can if there is people inside, but thank God there was no one inside,” she said.
Chicago police confirmed arson investigators were looking into the cause of the fire. No one was injured.
Fire Department officials said investigators also are looking at wires in the auditorium as a possible source of the fire.
No one was injured, but due to smoke contamination inside, the building will be closed on Wednesday, which is why students were sent to Taft.
Parents were split about the decision to hold classes on Wednesday. Some were glad students would be in class, others said they don’t think their kids would learn much by going to another school for the day.
Azar said her daughter is looking forward to going to class at Taft on Wednesday.
“She’s interested, actually, because she’s going in the bus, and she’s going to a high school at this age,” she said.
However, some parents weren’t on board with the idea of having their kids spend the day at Taft.
“That school is kind of crowded to begin with,” Pettina Dascczua said.
Dascczua said she’s concerned about what her children will learn during the school day.
“They’re going to have no supplies or anything there. So I guess they’re just going to be hanging out the whole day at the high school,” she said.
After classes at Taft, Onahan students will be bused back to their elementary school, where their parents can pick them up.