Community steps in to help following fire at Altoona-Midway Elementary School

ALTOONA, Kan. –Following a fire at Altoona-Midway Elementary on Saturday that damaged the building, many from across the community came out to begin boarding up and securing the school.

“In a  small rural community like this, a school is kind of a center point, it’s where a lot of activities happen, it’s where people have a lot of memories, when that special place get’s damaged or maybe destroyed, as much as this building has been, it’s gonna have some impact on the whole community,” said Steve Parson, Interim Superintendent of Altoona-Midway School District.

The damage is extensive, with two classrooms, a storage room, and the cafeteria completely destroyed and the entire building facing smoke and water damage.

Destiny Raymond who just finished the fourth grade says she came out to help as soon as she heard about the damage to her school.

“To see what it looked like, all the damage, and just say my goodbye…just wanted to see it, I wanted to see it, how bad it was, worse than I thought,” Raymond said.

The damage even inspired alumni to come back to their hometown to help out.

“Made a lot of memories here over the years, you know all the friends and stuff, good times, I was just in utter shock you know, I couldn’t believe it,” said Raymond.

He said the community’s efforts are something positive coming from such a disastrous event.

“You know something tragic happened here maybe the community coming together and we can possibly rebuild or who knows what will happen,” said Raymond.

Cynthia Dvorachek, a teacher at the local high school, says it’s no surprise so many came out to help.

“We’re one big family and so when that came out on the messenger last night that there was a fire and they needed volunteers, no question my husband and I called our church and said we’re not being there today, we’re here today because it’s where we need to be,” Dvorachek said.

Programs typically held at the elementary school, like summer school and the summer food program, will have to be moved to the high school.