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College blaze caused by electrical problem


An electrical problem is being blamed for a fire that destroyed the Confederation College campus in Dryden early Friday morning.

“Two insurance companies are on the scene right now trying to pinpoint the specific cause,” Dryden Deputy Fire Chief Ken Kurz said this morning.

“But they’re having a tough time just trying to keep warm in the parts of the building that are just covered with tarp,” he added. “There’s ice everywhere.”

Dryden fire and police services were dispatched around 4:45 a.m. on Friday to 221 Government St. to a report of smoke coming from the college campus building.

Upon arrival, crews observed heavy smoke and flames starting to show through the roof of the building.

Some 35 firefighters and eight pieces of equipment were used to get the fire under control by about 8 a.m. Spot fires continued to burn throughout the 3,000 sq. ft. main floor area into the afternoon.

Damage to the building was extensive to both the building and its contents, and Deputy Chief Kurz noted the blaze was aggravated by the fact the building had few windows.

No injuries were reported.

Support services on the scene included paramedics, a Hydro One line crew, and Union Gas and Public Works crews.

In the meantime, college students here and in Kenora returned to classes today after they were cancelled Friday, local campus manager Don Lovisa said.

Arrangements still are being made for the students in Dryden.

“I know Contact North is working on getting them set up [with videoconferencing capability],” Lovisa noted. “Their next scheduled videoconference is tomorrow afternoon so we’ve still got some time.

“We still have to decide how to make up for the lost classes,” he added.

Lovisa noted several of the college’s courses are “shared” classes, whereby classes instructed live here and in Kenora also are broadcast to students at other campuses, including the one in Dryden.

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