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Oconto High School reopens after April fire

Oconto High School damaged by a fire on April 16, 2014. (Photo from: YouTube).
Oconto High School damaged by a fire on April 16, 2014. (Photo from: YouTube).

OCONTO, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Oconto High School in northeast Wisconsin is opening today for the first time since a fire 26 days ago caused five-million dollars in damage. For the last three weeks, students have attended classes at a middle school where extra space was available.

About 300 students and 40-plus staff members were affected, after a 16-year-old boy reportedly started the blaze by smoking a home-rolled cigarette in a restroom stall -- and an ember smoldered in a toilet-paper dispenser. Authorities said it was an accident, but prosecutors continue to consider possible charges against the youngster.

WLUK TV of Green Bay said a smoke detector is in the repaired restroom for the first time -- and plastic stall partitions were replaced with flame-resistant metal walls. Superintendent Sara Croney told the T-V station that the Oconto district might seek voter approval in November for other school improvements -- including sprinkler systems.