Last Updated on Monday, 16 January 2023, 18:19 by Denis Chabrol
The fire that destroyed the Christ Church Secondary School last week Thursday was “malciously” set, the Guyana Fire Service said on Monday.
The Service noted that eight days before the inferno, a small fire in the school’s laboratory had been extinguished. Investigators indicated that the second fire started on several seats in the school but the common link is the late afternoon times of both blazes.
“Taking into consideration the time of day that both fires occurred (16:29 p.m. and 17:22 p.m.), coupled with the fact that the second fire had several points of origin (seats), it is the determination of the Guyana Fire Service that the fire was maliciously set by person or persons unknown,” the Fire and Rescue Service said.
The Fire Service said its Fire Prevention Department began its investigation immediately, and they found that on the evening of the previous fire at the school, which was ruled the result of a chemical reaction combustion, all chemicals were removed from the building. “As such, there were no chemicals in the building at the time of the second fire, which rules out the possibility that it was another chemical reaction. Furthermore, the day after the first fire at the school, Christ Church Secondary was inspected and certified by the Government Electrical Inspectorate, which rules out the possibility of the second fire being electrical in origin,” the GFS said.
The Fire and Rescue Service said it received a call at 17:22 hours last Thursday and was alerted to the fire at Camp and Middle Streets. On arrival, the Service said, the wooden and concrete building was engulfed in flames while firefighters were “getting into action.”
More than 500 students and 39 teachers have been displaced by the fire.
Additionally, three buildings in close proximity to the school were affected by the inferno and suffered damage to several AC units, PVC guttering, ceilings, windows, and curtains. Four vehicles also suffered damage to their tail lights, bumpers, and number plates.
This was all due to the radiated heat from the building of origin.
The fire was eventually contained, and firefighters were able to stop it from spreading to the Office of the Prime Minister and other nearby buildings, the Fire and Rescue Service said.
Eight jets were employed onto the flames, working from, a fire hydrant, open water source and original tank supply. This brought the fire under control and subsequently extinguished the blaze.