A small motor fire in the air-handling unit canceled classes at J.J. Hill Montessori in the St. Paul district today.

Repairs are continuing and expected to be finished this afternoon, the district said in an email.

The district made the decision to cancel school at 8 a.m., half an hour before classes began. Many students were either on their way to school or had gotten there before families were told of the cancellation via robo-call and the school PTO's Facebook page, the district said. 

At the school, breakfast was provided and students stayed in the building's lobby until families got there. By 10 a.m., 10 students were left at the school, according to the district. 

The air-handling unit helps give fresh air and manage the temperature at the school. The St. Paul district said engineers started ventilating the school at 4 a.m. to air out the smell because of the fire.

School is anticipated to be in session Wednesday, the district said.