Frontier school district puts emergency plans in place in light of Lackawanna Fire

Viewer Chris Zak submitted drone pics of blaze

LAKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Frontier School District is just a few miles away from the fire. Both district leaders and parents worried the smoke would send dangerous chemicals into school buildings.

District leaders tell us parents were calling their offices to make sure their kids were okay as the steel plant site burned just a few miles away.  The Environmental Protection Agency was brought in to measure air quality in the area.
But until those results came back, the school district assumed the air was bad and evacuation plans were underway for students. But Wednesday morning,  the town of Hamburg put a shelter in place advisory in place.

That meant Frontier Middle and High School students were told to hunker down in their respective buildings. Leaders were told the air inside the buildings was testing just fine. But district leaders say in this case they’re not taking any chances.

Students tell us they were surprised to wake up to the big cloud of smoke above their school. But parents say the biggest concern is of course their kids safety.

Diane Burt picked up her grandchildren from Frontier today. She said, “I think it’s just better knowing they’re with you, with family, in case something does happen like they’re going to be stranded here for awhile.”

Charlie Klaes, 10, goes to school in Blasdell. He said, “I saw a big cloud of smoke, and it looked like it went miles down!”

Dr. Bret Apthorpe, Superintendent of Schools in the Frontier School District said, “I think of it like a parent. I think of all these kids like their father. I want them in the safest place they can be.”

Here are the protocols in place for the district on Wednesday:

The town of Hamburg has lifted the Shelter in Place, we will be using Option #1 for dismissal.

All after school activities are canceled.   Community Education classes are also canceled for tonight.


Option 1   If the Town of Hamburg lifts the “Shelter in Place” by 2:00 pm

  1.  Cloverbank parents are able to go to Lakeshore High School to sign their children out by 2:00 and Blasdell parents are able to go to Lakeshore Middle School to sign their children out by 2:00.  AT 3:00 any remaining students will be transported from Lakeshore home via their normal buses and routes.  There is a strong likelihood these students will arrive home later than usual.
  1. Pinehurst students will have a normal dismissal at their normal time on their normal buses.  As soon as these buses leave the school the Big Tree buses will pull into Pinehurst to pick up Big Treestudents on their normal buses.  They will probably arrive later than usual to their destinations.
  1. All students in the elementary after school program that have not been picked up by 3:00 pm will be transported to Pinehurst Elementary. Parents should pick their children up at Pinehurst Elementary ASAP after 3:00.
  1. The high school and middle school will dismiss as normal.  All after-school activities will take place as scheduled.
  1. All private school and out of district students will be transported home as usual.

Lackawanna city schools, hamburg Central and Orchard Park districts don’t appear to be affected. In Hamburg, outdoor after school activities are canceled as a precaution. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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