Atlantic Caribbean Union

Arson Feared, Entire School Could Have Burned Down Says Official

Tribune Freeport Reporter

THE Grand Bahama Academy was closed for some 250 students after a fire yesterday morning damaged some of the classrooms, the kitchen and the cafeteria.
Police said the cause of the fire is unknown, but some suspect it might have been a case of arson. An official said there was also a break-in and theft at the school.
Haydn Hanna, the school’s business manager, told The Tribune that “it was a miracle” the entire school did not burn down. He said the fire started in the kitchen, where there was extensive damage.
Mr Hanna reported that cases of drinks were stolen from a storage room.
“The door to the cafeteria was kicked in and the place was broken into and 30 cases of drinks were stolen from the storage room, where we kept a large shipment of items worth over $4,000, and the culprits lit the fire in there. It is a miracle the whole school did not burn down,” he said.
Police received the fire report around 7:30am. Inspector Terecita Pinder reported that when firemen arrived at the scene they saw fire and smoke damage to several rooms.
She said the damage was estimated at about $80,000.
“The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and police are actively investigating this matter,” she said.
Mr Hanna said the school’s cook was the first at the scene and notified officials.
“The kitchen was completely destroyed, but there was only minor damage to three classrooms,” Mr Hanna said.
“It seems that the fire had burned through a water pipe running overhead into the cafeteria and the water in the pipe came gushing down and extinguished the fire,” he said.
“We had no school today (Tuesday) because of the fire, but we hope to get the repairs to those classrooms and to the exterior done as soon as possible, and so we have suspended school for the rest of the week,” he said.
The school, which is located in the Grasmere Subdivision, will remain closed for a week until repairs are completed to the three classrooms, which were damaged by smoke.
He said that repairs to the kitchen are not expected to be completed when school reopens on Monday.