- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) - Students in Cannon Ball who were displaced when a grass fire affected their elementary school on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation last month have returned to their regular classrooms.

The Oct. 11 blaze melted playground equipment at Cannon Ball Elementary School and filled the building with smoke and soot. The 115 students attended classes in nearby Solen during the three weeks of cleanup. They returned to the Cannon Ball school on Tuesday, KXMB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1HqIE2H ).

“It feels kind of good,” said fifth-grader Maize Two Bears.

Administrator Justin Fryer thanked the Solen school for its help.

“We were warmly received at Solen High School by all of the staff and students over there and we really appreciated that,” he said. “But, you know, the kids and the staff are just excited to get back here and in a comfortable setting.”

The fire that destroyed three houses and a church in the Dakotas reservation community came within a few feet of the school and destroyed the playground.

“The kids are resilient and have been doing a good job, you know, playing tag, different ball games outside, and making do,” Fryer said.

The school plans to put in a new playground next spring. North Dakota United, which represents more than 10,000 workers at schools, universities and government institutions, is providing the Cannon Ball school with $500 from its disaster fund to help out.

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Information from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com

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