LAKE PLACID — A fire badly damaged a classroom building at Mountain Lake Academy on Monday.

“School was not in session at the time, and all the students were in another area and not affected by this situation,” academy CEO Carol Prevost said in a statement. 

“Staff reported problems with an (electrical) outlet, and when maintenance staff responded and flipped the breaker, there were popping sounds in the wall and soon after, there was a smell of smoke.”

According to Essex County Dispatch, Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire at the academy, located at 386 River Road, at about 1:35 p.m. 

Mutual aid was provided by Keene Valley, Wilmington, Keene and Upper Jay fire departments.

Provost said the fire was electrical in origin in the statement.

The building houses the English, social studies and art classrooms, she said.

Ray Brook-based State Police said they did not suspect foul play was involved.

The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department was still at the academy at 9 p.m. Monday, so no further information was available.


Mountain Lake is a residential school for boys, ages 12 through 21, who have been referred to programs there by departments of social service, probation departments and special education agencies.

Last week, two students were arrested there for allegedly lighting a smoke bomb and throwing it in a common area of one building. Both were charged with second-degree arson and conspiracy, both felonies, and other charges.

The older student, Elwood W. Verity III, 16, was taken to Essex County Jail.

A 14-year-old student, whose name was not reported by State Police, was sent to the Capital District Secure Juvenile Facility in Albany.

Email Kim Smith

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