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Vocational School Students From Melrose Helping Repair Fire Damage

Woodshop area damaged in January fire expected to be back in use around the start of the next school year.

Back in January, firefighters from Wakefield and four surrounding communities put out a fire at Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School that left significant damage to the woodshop area and which at one point had flames showing from the roof.

The fire-damaged area is expected to be ready for the start of the next school year - and some current electrical and carpentry students, including Melrosians, will have the distinction of having worked to repair their own school. Students from Malden, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Winchester and Woburn that attend the school will also be assisting with the repair work.

According to Principal David DiBarri, the roof was repaired shortly after the fire to prevent further damage from the elements. More comprehensive repairs are still in the bidding process, he added. DiBarri also showed one area, which can be seen in the attached photos, where plexiglass remains that was melted and warped from the heat of the fire.

Students in the electrical program at the vocational school are already at work on some parts of the project - mainly to try to get three affected adjoining classrooms back into service as quickly as possible. The carpentry students are expected to do much of their work later in the process, added the principal.

Touring the building Thursday morning was Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and State Rep. Paul Brodeur. Murray noted that the fire "underscores the fact that our vocational/technical schools have some unique needs" in regard to equipment and other things. More about the Lieutenant Governor's visit will be posted on Wakefield Patch Friday morning.

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