Kids return to school Tuesday after boiler replacement

Kids return to school Tuesday after boiler replacement
Charles Mostoller

Kids at a North Philadelphia elementary school are back to class Tuesday now that a broken boiler has been replaced.

As most of Philadelphia now knows, the boiler was broken – and exploded last week when a mechanic at F.S. Edmonds Elementary School was working to fix it at the time.

School district officials said Monday that only family members of Christopher Trakimas are getting updates on his condition, but that word is he is still in a medically induced coma at Temple University Hospital’s burn unit. News reports have him suffering third-degree burns throughout his body and in serious condition.

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School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, both by the fire marshal and an independent forensic engineer.

No students were hurt in the explosion. All were immediately evacuated and rushed across the street to the New Media Charter School, where they were held temporarily until their parents picked them up.

“Hopefully everyone and all the children will be ready for the start of the week,” said Gallard.

The school was closed on Thursday and Friday, during which time a new boiler was installed at F. S. Edmonds. It’s now up and running. The new boiler has been inspected by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry, which has issued a certificate for it to operate safely.

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Gabe Morgan is vice president of 32BJ SEIU, the union that represents school district employees and Trakimas.

“School district workers should not have to risk their lives to do their jobs,” he said Monday.

“We will be working with the mayor and the school district to implement the safety measures necessary to make sure a horrific accident like this never happens again. We are praying for Chris and his family at this difficult time.”