Fire forces temporary closure of Agawam preschool

A local preschool will be closed for the foreseeable future after a fire broke out late Tuesday night.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A local preschool will be closed for the foreseeable future after a fire broke out late Tuesday night. Now, the program director is working tirelessly to find an alternative location for students and staff to hold classes.

Over 70 students were left without a classroom to attend after a fire broke out at Jump Start Preschool on Springfield Street in Agawam on Tuesday night. Program Director Rachelle Hannoush told Western Mass News she is heartbroken.

“It’s really sad. It’s like everything you have worked to make your perfect space, that meets your vision, is gone in minutes,” said Hannoush.

Agawam Fire Chief Alan Sirois told us crews first on the scene saw large amounts of smoke and fire coming from the roof. as well as the middle and back of the building. He added that the preschool sustained significant interior damage.

“They were able to knock down the main body of fire and ventilate the structure. Unfortunately, there was pretty severe fire damage to a large portion of the structure and smoke damage throughout. The building will not be habitable for quite some time,” Sirois explained.

Students and staff have been notified the preschool will be closed for the rest of the week. In the meantime, Hannoush is working with a realtor and contacting different property owners to find a new place to hold classes.

“We should have one within 48 hours and we plan to hopefully open in less than two weeks at an alternative location until we fix our previous location,” Hannoush said.

The burned out preschool building will need to undergo extensive renovations and a former parent has set up a GoFundMe page. Meantime, Hannoush is thankful for the outpouring of support from the local community.

“…And that’s really heartwarming. It truly feels like, yes, we are truly making a difference and we are not alone…One way or another, we will be back stronger,” Hannoush noted.

Sirois said that the fire is not believed to be suspicious and the cause is under investigation.

More about the GoFundMe for the Jump Start Preschool can be found here.