PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – Students at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Parma got a warm welcome from the Parma Fire Department as they walked into class on their first day.

The elementary students returned to the school for the first time in almost two years. In February 2022, an arson ripped through the building in February 2022 causing extensive damage.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School arson

“It’s been a very long 18 months to get to this moment,” said Principal Patrick Klimkewicz. “It feels great to be back.”

Students were supposed to start the school year on Tuesday, but the first day of school was delayed due to extremely warm temperatures.