Sanirajak school under 24-hour fire watch since spring due to sprinkler issue
Cost to pay people to perform fire-watch duties is $120,000 so far; still waiting on replacement parts
Sanirajak’s school has been under a 24-hour fire watch since spring — at a cost of $120,000 so far — because a sprinkler problem at the school has proven complicated to fix.
The issue started in May with one of the sprinkler pumps at Arnaqjuaq School, said Brad McFaul, a spokesperson with the Department of Community and Government Services.
“However, after replacing the part in late November, the switch in the fire pump was found to be faulty and needed to be changed as well,” he said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.
McFaul said the replacement switch was ordered in November but has not yet been received.
The department estimates the total cost to get the system back up and running will be up to $90,000, including labour and travel costs and roughly $70,000 spent on materials and parts.
In the meantime, Sanirajak’s district education authority has already spent $120,000 to date to pay a team of 21 people to act as a fire watch.
The team is hired on a full-time, part-time and relief work basis.
“Procedure requires that all areas of the school are inspected hourly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” McFaul said, adding this protocol is required to keep the school in line with Nunavut’s fire code.
It is unclear when the replacement parts for the sprinklers will arrive and when the sprinkler system will be functional.
Approximately 230 students attend Arnaqjuaq School, which runs from kindergarten to Grade 12.