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Lightning strike suspected in fire at Brownsburg elementary school

UPDATE: Cardinal Elementary School officials announced that the school will be closed on Monday, May 8, out of caution. Officials are awaiting air quality test results and will provide an update on Monday. All other Brownsburg schools are in session on Monday.

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — A lightning strike is likely to blame for a fire that damaged the roof of a Brownsburg elementary school on Sunday, district officials said.

Crews from Brownsburg Fire Territory were dispatched just after 7 a.m. to Cardinal Elementary School, located at 3590 Hornaday Road. The school is east of State Road 267 and south of U.S. 136.

Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control and kept it from spreading beyond the roof. Eight classrooms received water damage, but none were damaged by fire.

Staff from Brownsburg Community School Corporation will assess the damage to the building and spend time Sunday cleaning things up, according to a letter sent to parents.

“At this time, we anticipate school will start on time Monday for all Cardinal students,” the letter to parents read. “We’ve identified new classroom spaces for students in first grade and high-ability to have class tomorrow.”

There were no injuries and no one was in the building at the time of the fire, except for some baby chicks that had recently hatched in a first-grade classroom, Brownsburg Fire Territory said on Facebook.

“We are happy to say the chicks were relocated to an unaffected part of the building and are doing just fine,” the fire department wrote.

The fire department says the fire was reported by a teacher who went to the school to check on the chicks, noticed the smoke, and called 911.

Brownsburg firefighters relocated a group of recently-hatched chicks after a fire at Cardinal Elementary School on May 7, 2023. ( Provided Photo/Brownsburg Fire Territory)