Fire damages early head start classroom

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Nearly 50 head start students in Baton Rouge will be shuffled around to temporary classrooms after fire ripped apart their normal classroom over the weekend.

YWCA's Istrouma Early Head Start classroom was severely damaged by a fire Saturday night.

The classroom is being leased out of the HOPE Ministries Building on Winbourne Avenue. The rest of the building sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

A Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesperson said the fire quickly spread from the classroom into the attic. The cause has not been released. No one was in the building at the time.

HOPE Ministries President & CEO Janet Simmons announced the Istrouma Early Head Start program will be closed until the damage can be repaired. In the meantime, some children will be placed in other head start programs, but Simmons said it's vital to find a temporary place to house their program.

"If anybody knows of some facilities, like a church, that might be willing to open their doors or anything like that that's in that area," Simmons said. "We need to keep it close to the kids that's in the schools in the north Baton Rouge area. That would be really helpful."

Simmons added HOPE's Food Pantry will reopen Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Total damages are estimated to cost about $180,000.

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