Residents save Golden Grove Secondary School from fire
Quick and decisive action by residents of Golden Grove and Haslington, East Coast Demerara, saved the decades old Golden Secondary School from destruction by fire early yesterday morning.
Using buckets, several residents came out of their beds to save the two-storey concrete and wooden structure which many of them would have attended in their younger days.
By the time fire tenders from the city arrived, everything was virtually under control and the threat almost eliminated.
In the end, only a section of the school’s laboratory on the bottom flat was partially damaged, with most of the damage coming from water poured to extinguish the fire.
The cause of the fire is believed to be some age old chemicals that were stored in the laboratory. From time to time the cupboard which contained them had to be repeatedly soaked, as smoke kept emanating intermittently even though the actual fire was already put out.
Even up to when students turned up for classes, the stench from the chemicals coupled with sporadic bursts of smoke forced a halt to sessions and by 10:00 hours everyone had been sent home.
One resident told this newspaper that he had observed smoke coming through the windows of the school around midnight on Sunday.
He went into the school compound to investigate and thankfully he was able to quickly identify the source, and they set upon it right away.
By this time an alarm was raised and several other villagers armed with buckets converged on the school compound.
First they had to break a door to get into the building and once this was done, they had to contend with the thick smoke in the building which was in complete darkness.
“I go in and had to run out back two times,” one of the residents told this newspaper.
Eventually visibility improved and fighting the fire got easier to the extent that the real firefighters had little to do when they eventually arrived on the scene.
Kaieteur News understands that classes were held in the laboratory earlier on Sunday, but there are no reports that the chemicals were used.
Investigators believe that the heat coupled with the fact that the chemicals were locked up for a considerably long period might have caused the fire.
Classes are expected to resume today.