WINSLOW — A broken water pipe led to widespread damage, school cancellation and a small fire at Winslow Elementary School on Monday. The full extent of the damage is still unknown, but the building is insured, Superintendent Eric Haley said.

The school will also be closed Tuesday in anticipation of foul weather from Hurricane Sandy, but Haley expects the elementary school to reopen Wednesday. Classes throughout the district — which includes Vassalboro, Waterville and Winslow — are also canceled Tuesday.

Monday was a day of compounding problems at the school.

The broken pipe was discovered in the lobby ceiling about 5 a.m. Monday, Principal Kyle Price said. Classes were canceled for the day while a clean-up crew set up fans to dry damp carpets and assess the damage.

Then, at 12:30 p.m., a sump pump in the school’s elevator shaft burned out, causing a brief evacuation of the building while firefighters used their own fans to clear the building of smoke. Chief David LaFountain said the pump overheated while clearing water that had flooded the elevator shaft. Damage within the shaft was minor.

The pipe break was because of a “50-cent plug that rotted out and let go,” Haley said. Water poured from the pipe and spread throughout three wings in the building, he said, but the full extent of the damage was unknown Monday afternoon.

“We’re still finding new rooms, new places. Wallboard is being taken off, floors are being taken up. It’s a mess,” he said. “It’s going to take quite a while to put it all back together.”

Haley added that the gym was affected and portions of the flooring have been torn out.

“Hopefully it’s not too devastating,” he said.

The school is insured for the damages, after a $1,000 deductible, Haley said.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239
[email protected]

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