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Boiler blast cancels Trail school's classes

TRAIL - Elk-Trail School kids got an unexpected day off Monday when one of the school's old diesel boilers exploded and spewed smoke and debris into part of the small upper Rogue River school.

Damage was limited to the boiler, duct work and the smoky mess in four of the school's seven classrooms as well as a hallway and school offices.

"As you can imagine, it made a mess of everything," Principal Daniel Johnson said Monday.

Maintenance crews spent Monday cleaning the classrooms, and space heaters were brought in so the school's 162 pupils can be expected back in their chairs when classes resume at 8:50 a.m. today, Johnson said.

Johnson said Monday he knew of no cost or timetable for repairing or replacing the boiler.

The boiler likely exploded some time after it turned on automatically before dawn Monday, Johnson said. A maintenance worker discovered the smoky building about 5:45 a.m.

Firefighters from Jackson County Fire District No. 4 used fans to rid the building of smoke, Johnson said.

Teachers and administrators spent more than two hours scrambling to notify students that the school, which houses kindergartners through sixth-graders, would be closed Monday.

Between telephone calls and media reports, the news reached all but two pupils. They spent the day attending classes at Shady Cove School, Johnson said.