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published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Significant damage, no injuries in Fred Wild fire
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- Investigations into a fire early Wednesday morning on the Fred Wild Elementary School campus are under way.
The school's fire alarms began going off at approximately 2:40 a.m. and continued until about 3 a.m., according to FWE Principal Laura Waldron. A portable trailer, which had previously been used as a classroom, was fully engulfed by flames. A second portable was damaged due to the initial fire, but no other buildings suffered any damages.
"Myself, Mr. (Wally) Cox and other administrators were all called about 3 a.m.," Waldron said Wednesday morning.
Upon Waldron's arrival, the Sebring Fire Department along with DeSoto City Fire Department, West Sebring Volunteer Fire Department and Sebring Police Department were all on the scene.
State Fire Marshal investigator Raymond Miles Davis was on the scene for a large part of the morning.
"The State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire of the two portables. One sustained major damage. The other sustained heat and water damage from the first portable. Neither of the portables were being used as classrooms, the one with the minor damage was being used for storage and there was significant damage to the contents inside of it," said Waldron. "Everyone that has been here has been trying to do what they need to do to take care of the situation. Everyone is working together. I'm most grateful that no one was hurt. No one was on the campus at the time the fire started and no other buildings were damaged on campus."
The Division of State Fire Marshal Office could not confirm Wednesday morning if the incident was arson, however, the fire continues to be investigated.
"It's to be determined. I can't really confirm if it was arson because it is an open investigation," Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rodney Hollinger said. "At 8:30 a.m., specialty dogs were brought in from Plant City for a sniff inspection. They were looking for any accelerants that could've been used. Our (Management and Information Systems) and facilities staff were on campus this morning. Adjustments to the wiring on that end of campus will be made by MIS. The second portable was being used as a migrant worker office, so they are taking inventory of those items to see where to relocate them. I know that this morning the fire marshal department packed up some materials in a bucket and that it will be sent to Tallahassee for testing."
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