The owner of Southwest Private School, which burned at the hands of an arsonist in May of 2006, is one step closer to rebuilding the school. However, the investigators trying to find the arsonist are no closer to a suspect.
"We have people that we are looking and will be continuing to look at," said fire investigator Garrett Nelson.
Nelson and other investigators from the Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office are still trying to piece together what happened in the early morning hours of May 15, 2006. That's the day an arsonist set fire to the Southwest Private School and burned it to the ground.
"Like any other working, ongoing investigation we're constantly looking back over the material that we've gotten and trying to come up with new information. But the main one is our need and desire to speak to all of the people involved," Nelson said.
Meanwhile at the city council meeting Thursday, the council approved the first of two required readings giving Celia Pruitt, the owner of the school, the go ahead to rebuild. However, on the day of the fire Pruitt told teary-eyed parents she was soon set to retire.
"August 15, 2008 came today and we won't be keeping your kiddos anymore," Pruitt said.
In the meantime, Nelson says rebuilding on the scene of the crime is no trouble for the investigation.
"We're done with the scene. It doesn't hinder us in any way, shape or form," Nelson said.
What the Fire Marshall's Office is doing now is waiting.
"Once we get to this point in an investigation we're really dealing more with people and waiting on information from people and that's pretty much in the hands of who we need to talk to," Nelson added.
When they finally do find the arsonist and the person is found guilty he or she will face two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
As for Celia Pruitt and her plans for the new school, she's hasn't contacted a builder yet or even had plans drawn up. But she does know that, in addition to being a school, she foresees it also being a daycare for babies and infants.
5/15/06 Fire Destroys Lubbock Preschool Eighty Lubbock children will not be attending Southwest Private School Tuesday morning. The school, located at 38th and Quaker, caught fire around 4am Monday morning and burned for eight hours. NewsChannel 11 has also found out this isn't the first fire at the school.