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‘It hurts a lot’: Community comes together after fire destroys Kamloops school

WATCH: The city of Kamloops is in shock after an elementary school for 360 students was destroyed by fire. John Hua reports.

Kamloops school officials say they hope to have students and staff from the destroyed Parkcrest Elementary School back in other classrooms by the middle of September.

The district is scrambling to relocate hundreds of children, teachers and support staff after a fire spread through the school Thursday evening, burning it from the inside out just days into the new school year.

The fire burned through the night into Friday morning, after firefighters found themselves unable to extinguish the flames.

WATCH: Aerial view of Kamloops elementary school following Thursday’s devastating fire

Aerial view of Kamloops elementary school following Thursday’s devastating fire
Aerial view of Kamloops elementary school following Thursday’s devastating fire

By the time the flames finally died, the school that has stood in the community for decades had become a shell of its former self.

No one was injured in the blaze, and the cause is still under investigation. Fire investigators say they need to wait until it’s safe enough to enter the site and determine what might have happened.

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READ MORE: ‘Everyone is in shock’: Kamloops elementary school destroyed in massive fire

School district superintendent Alison Sidow said Friday a tentative plan is in place for where the students will end up, which will be shared with parents next week.

“Our goal is to have students learning and back in some form of a school a week from Monday,” she said. “We aim to meet that goal.

“It’s really important for all of our young people that they have stability in their lives and that families feel supported.”

WATCH: Kamloops school district responds after massive fire destroys Parkcrest Elementary

‘The school is gone’: Kamloops school district responds after massive fire destroys Parkcrest Elementary
‘The school is gone’: Kamloops school district responds after massive fire destroys Parkcrest Elementary

Sidow praised the actions of Kamloops Fire Rescue, whose members, she said, “worked tirelessly to try to save the school” until it was not safe to continue.

Hot spots continued to burn Friday as more current and former students showed up at the school to pay their respects.

“It hurts a lot,” student Camryn Exelby said. “Just watching all those classrooms you’ve been in. And all those memories you’ve made … just up in flames.”

Jordan Peace said she watched the roof of her Grade One classroom fall as the fire burned, with flames shooting out of other classrooms she once sat in.

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WATCH: Fire destroys Kamloops elementary school

Fire destroys Kamloops elementary school
Fire destroys Kamloops elementary school

“It’s really sad,” she said. “There were so many people watching it, which really shows how many people care about this school.”

While the district works to find space for students and staff, community groups and daycares are doing everything they can to provide space for students.

The city’s Boys and Girls Club quickly reached capacity for its day camps next week after offering free admission to Parkcrest families.

READ MORE: Chilliwack apartment complex blaze displaces residents

As for teachers, a GoFundMe page set up to cover costs of replacing equipment they lost in the fire raised more than $13,000 in eight hours.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the province will work hard to fast-track the rebuilding of a new school and will provide more help where it can, including temporary relocation costs for students and staff.

“Our capital division and the Ministry of Education will work with the school district [and] will work with the City of Kamloops, who I know will have an interest in expediting permits and clearing the way to get a new school.”

Fleming said details about those costs will be made available in the near future.

— With files from John Hua

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