Flames reignite inside burned Hamshire-Fannett Elementary School

Almost 48 hours after fire destroyed Hamshire-Fannett Elementary School, flames reignite.

LaBelle-Fannett fire officials tell 12News that shortly after midnight Thursday, three to four foot flames flared up again inside the burned school.

The hot spot was in a small part of the hallway.  About five firefighters responded along with a fire truck and ambulance, and they got it under control.

The school has been fenced in for security reasons, and a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy is on scene around the clock.

Fire Chief Charles Sonnier says he's frustrated with the pace of the investigation.

Chief Sonnier says the State's Fire Marshal Office and the ATF left on Tuesday, before even starting their investigation, saying the school was too dangerous.

They cited the collapsed roof and asbestos inside the structure.

Sonnier, who's been chief for 16 years, says this leaves his fire department with the burden of having to prep the site for the state and federal investigators, and adds more stress to the community.

Sonnier said, "It makes me aggravated because they need to be here, they need to stay with us, and not just throw their hands and walk off, I'd like for them to come back and help us out."

Chief Sonnier also fears that the longer the investigation is delayed, the more rumors will circulate about what caused the fire.

Sonnier said, "Let's find out what happened before we start pointing fingers and start getting ugly, this is our kids' community, my grandkids school, let's get together and pull this together to make it work."

Chief Sonnier also told us that the fire might have burned longer than everyone first thought.

He said a clock in the school auditorium stopped at 12:28 Tuesday morning, which Sonnier believes might have been when the fire started, but the fire department did not get the call until about 45 minutes later at 1:15 a.m.

Sonnier believes it was probably burning inside, that's why it took awhile for anyone to notice.

 


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