Community teams up for school damaged by fire

January 27, 2012 7:12:54 PM PST
A San Francisco school that was damaged by a fire in the Western Addition neighborhood still has not recovered one month later.

It happened three days before Christmas and destroyed several apartment buildings as well. The Creative Arts Charter School has been collecting supplies since then with help from the community. They are still in need of supplies including books and other instructional materials, but the entire community and also schools around San Francisco have been helping them rebuild.

The fire broke out at an apartment building on Golden Gate Avenue. It was noon on December 22. The Creative Arts Charter School next door suffered major water and smoke damage. Thankfully, school was not in session.

"In this building, we had an art studio, a library, our main office, and the counselor's office, and six classrooms," Director Paul Greenwood said showing ABC7 the damage.

Inside an annex building, teachers lost books and years worth of supplies. The main building is several feet away, but did not suffer any damage.

"It's been quite a challenge to lose so much stuff mid-year," said teacher Ron Buchanan.

But what the school was not anticipating was the level of support coming from people in the Western Addition neighborhood and from other schools in San Francisco.

"Schools around the city have given us donations of supplies, furniture, book drives," Greenwood said.

Among those schools is the Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood. The first-grade class spent time recruiting some of the older boys to help donate books and supplies.

"They were asking like, 'What stuff do you need?' and I told them like a pack of paper, or a pack of pencils," first-grader Jack Chung said.

"They were really motivated to help them out, so they actually went around to all of our classrooms in the lower school and told them a little bit about what was happening at the Creative Arts Charter School," said teacher Tracy Murray.

"From crisis comes rebirth, and we're optimistic about the future and feeling very inspired and confident about what has transpired in the last month," Greendwood said.

Click here for more information on what the school needs or how to donate supplies.