Preliminary investigations into the fire which severely damaged the Mabaruma Secondary School on Friday, September 24, 2021, have revealed that the fire was an arson attack, the Guyana Fire Service said in a statement on Thursday.
On the day of the incident at around 21:20 h, a security guard attached to the school reported hearing three explosions and seeing smoke and fire emanating from the direction of the headteacher’s office.
Auxiliary firefighters in the area and other officials along with public-spirited citizens responded to the scene and managed to contain the blaze to one section of the school, preventing it from spreading to the dormitories, information technology department, and other nearby buildings.
Despite their efforts, however, the wooden and concrete building was mostly gutted as a result of the fire. Although there is a new fire station in the community which was recently completed, it is temporarily being used as a Covid-19 quarantine center while furnishings and equipment, inclusive of a water tender, are scheduled to be in place by late October.
Last Saturday, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo; Regional Executive Officer, Tikaram Bissessar; Regional Chairman, Brentnol Ashley; Headteacher (ag), Indra Chacon; Divisional Police Commander Boodnarine Persaud and fire investigators visited the school and examined the damages caused by the fire.
The Ministry of Education has committed to providing support and alternative arrangements to facilitate the 600 students who attend the Mabaruma Secondary School.