School fire in Richmond put out, building a total loss


RICHMOND, R.I (WPRI) — At least 22 departments worked for hours to put out a fire at a school in Richmond. 

Firefighters were called to the Meadowbrook Waldorf School around 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

When they arrived, they found fire coming from the building.

In total, about 250 firefighters were on scene throughout the day.

Richmond-Carolina District Fire Chief Scott Barber said there were many challenges fighting the fire, including no nearby fire hydrants. All the water used was brought in by tanker trucks.

“It’s just been a long difficult battle.  The fire just worked its way from the west wing right across to the eastern part of the building, and it pretty much consumed the whole building,” Chief Barber said.

Chief Barber tells us, three firefighters were transported from the scene.  One firefighter has since been released from the hospital.  

The building is a total loss.  What were classrooms and offices for roughly 145 students and about 40 teachers and faculty is now a huge pile of debris.

What’s left of Meadowbrook Waldorf School was brought to the ground by an excavator as smoke still poured into the air.

“Probably the most frustrating one in the 43 years I’ve been on the fire department,” Chief Barber said.

Now, the state fire marshal’s office will be investigating and the school is left to figure out where classes will be held this fall.

School Administrator Jennifer Farrelly says school was supposed to start the Tuesday after Labor Day and that will definitely happen, just in another location.

“Meadowbrook’s never been about the building.  It’s always been about the community, so just stay positive,” said Jennifer Farrelly.

Farrelly says the plan will be to rebuild on the very same site.  She said it was hard to watch the building be torn down, but knows they will be back.

The Fire Chief tells Eyewitness News, crews will be monitoring the site for flare ups because of how much debris there is.  

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