Someone may have intentionally set a fire at the junior high in Wilson. Flames tore through the building early Thursday morning, doing major damage to part of the school. Police say it looks like someone forced their way into a side door at the school, but right now the investigation is on going.
The fire burnt through three classrooms and a bathroom, but fire crews saved other parts of the building. "There was a, quite an amount of fire in that classroom. Just a tremendous amount of smoke pouring out from the doors and the windows," said Wilson Volunteer Fire Chief Clyde Wilke. Fire crews were called to the scene around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. "Damage on the inside, it's gone," said Wilke.
In the classroom where the fire is suspected to have started, everything is destroyed. Desks, chairs, a supply closet full of items for the coming school year are all gone. "There was a desk in there that burned to the ground. Plastic desks are melted. Computers are melted. I mean, it looks to me like there is not much salvageable," said Wilke. Fortunately, fire crews kept flames from damaging the gym. Only smoke damage is visible.
A broken door on the side of the school may hold the key to how this fire began. "When we arrived on scene, the door was open. We did not have to use our tools to get into the building," said Wilke. "It looks like it was possible arson. We're not saying it is arson, but we treat it as a crime scene, and we're investigating it as arson," said Lynn County Sheriff Jerry Dee Franklin.
Students in Wilson are scheduled to start class on August 14th, and we're told this fire will not stop that from happening, but those students may have to use temporary classroom or squeeze into the undamaged parts of the school.
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