The building has been deemed safe for students and staff, according to Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson. Nicholson made the announcement in a letter posted on the district's Web site on Sunday, Jan. 8 and through reverse 911 calls to parents, in Spanish and English.
"I can tell you that the fire was quickly extinguished by the Waltham Fire Department, damage was minimal and the MacArthur School is safe for staff and students on Monday, as determined by the city’s Fire Chief Michael Quinn and Wires Inspector Tim Kelly," Nicholson wrote.
Click on the PDF in the photo box to read a copy of Nicholson's letter.
The announcement comes after officials said the building's interior alarms failed to go off.
As a result of the fire, which originated in an electrical box associated with the school's solar panels, a new heating and smoke detection system will be installed at all the schools that have solar panels, according to Nicholson. The panels will remain off until that system is in place, she said. All the distric's schools, except John W. McDevitt Middle School and the Fitzgerald Elementary School, either currently have solar panels, or will have them in the future, according to Nicholson.
The city is planning several other steps as a result of the fire. All of the city's schools that have solar panels will be re-inspected, according to Nicholson. Also, the city plans to meet with State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan causes and ways to detect fires on building roofs.
A few new details also emerged from Nicholson's letter. The fire, she wrote, never entered the building and a cleaning crew has spent the weekend cleaning the impacted wing of the school.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the blaze.