Parents demanding that Union Square school reopen after fire

UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Parents and students are taking action Monday after a school fire that has disrupted classes for days in Manhattan.

A rally was held outside of the Success Academy in Union Square to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio assign the Office of Emergency Management to take over repairs after the fire so the campus can reopen.

"This is an urgent situation, and the mayor and the chancellor should treat it as such," Success Academy founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz said.

It was last Thursday when there was a fiery explosion in an electrical panel in the basement of the 11-story building on Irving Place, which forced the evacuation of all 2,000 students.

No one was hurt, but since then, all students have been reassigned to other school buildings throughout the city. The Department of Education says it's offered Success Academy space in several other school buildings for their K-3rd grade students and that all offers have been turned down.

"PS 340 is a lovely school," Moskoqitz said. "It only has, at max, seven rooms. We have 350 children. We now occupy 21 rooms."

The Department of Education says they have crews -- more than 30 workers -- working around the clock to make the repairs. But they say the damage done to the electrical gears was so severe that it's going to take some time.

"Four days after the fire, we don't have answers," Moskowitz said. "And we don't have plan for when we will get back into the building."

Students were also anxious to return.

"I want to go back to school because we get to learn, and we get to read fun books," Arianna Pando said.

Parents also urged action.

"Chancellor Farina, you represent all these children who are enrolled in public schools, whether they are charter or district schools," Julie Suk said. "And you need to be accountable to all of us."

Parents have asked the city to put in generators so students can get back into the building, but the city says the damage was so extensive that generators will do no good.
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