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Fire at Mountain Lake Academy ruled accidental

January 30, 2014
By MATTHEW TURNER ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A recent fire at Mountain Lake Academy's classroom building has been ruled accidental by county fire investigators.

Don Jaquish, director of Essex County emergency services, said his investigation determined that an electrical overload caused the fire.

He added that the insurance company was not finished with its investigation.

The damage to the building was severe, Jaquish said.

"It was gutted," he said. "The roof collapsed. The walls were standing and, that was about it."

The fire occured on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20, at the school at 386 River Road. No students were in the building at the time and no one was injured. The schoolhouse, built in 1940, was detached from the main facilty. It housed English, social studies and art classrooms.

The investigation confirms what school CEO Carol Prevost and Principal Chris Mariano had said from the start - the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction.

"We had no doubt that it was (caused by) electrical," Prevost said Monday, Jan. 27.

Prevost said they are going to build a new schoolhouse building as soon as possible. At the moment, the students' classrooms have been temporarily relocated inside the main facility in a conference room and recreation area.

"The students are cooperative and supportive and have adjusted to the new routine." Prevost said. "They look forward to a new building."

Mountain Lake Academy is a school for males, aged 12 to 21, who have behavior issues.



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