Durfee High to reopen Friday as flood cleanup continues

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Despite a burst pipe causing tens of thousands of gallons of water to flood into Durfee High School on Wednesday, classes will resume for students on Friday.

The school was closed for a second day Thursday as crews worked to clean up the water and repair any damage it caused. Four floors of classroom and office space were affected, with some parts of the school under three feet of water at the height of the flood.

Superintendent Matthew Malone said that while the cleanup isn’t complete, air quality tests came back clean, meaning the building is safe for students and staff to return.

In a statement Thursday, Malone said, “clean-up and recovery efforts will be ongoing for the foreseeable future and although it will not be a perfect educational setting, we are confident we will be successful.”

The burst pipe was not the result of cold weather, according to Malone, but rather aging infrastructure in the 40-year-old building.

“We need a new high school,” he said. “This is evident today in looking at not only what caused this to happen, but seeing the conditions of what our classrooms look like in general.”

The Fall River City Council has called a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the Durfee’s future and a proposal to construct a new school building, City Council President Cliff Ponte told Eyewitness News Thursday afternoon.