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Lifetime Longhorns promise to rebuild after school fire - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Lifetime Longhorns promise to rebuild after school fire

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The Hamshire-Fannett elementary school was built in 1950. A lot of people in the community have close ties to the school.

As flames ripped through the 64-year-old school, onlookers watch a piece of history dwindle into rubble.

"This school is our community. It really is," said Shawn Club, 1984 graduate of Hamshire Fannett.

Club's family has roots in the area dating back over 100 years.

"I bleed blue and gold and that's what Hamshire stands for. That's what we stand for. We're Longhorns through and through," he said.

When the school was built, the president of the school board was a man named Walter Burrell. His grand-daughter is the current elementary school principal, Karen Reneau. She watched from the street as a landmark became charred.

"It is my baby and all my babies attend here," she said.

Tears flowed from her eyes as smoke billowed from the building. She stood there not knowing the history destroyed in her school.

"I'm going through my mind all the things that are in there. The things are replaceable. I'm just thankful that no one has been hurt," she said.

Meanwhile on the inside, the brave fought to save what they could of their childhood memories.

"Probably 60-percent of the people that were out here, volunteers, went to school and graduated from the school," said Hamshire Volunteer Fire Department Chief Justin Chesson.

Chief Chesson was taught at the school and was hoping it was a false alarm when the call came over the radio.

"You don't ever really fathom pulling up and seeing fire rolling out windows of the building," he said.

The scene was shocking, heartbreaking, and devastating. But, through thick and thin, a community of lifetime longhorns promise to rebuild.

"We're gonna stick together and we're gonna make things work. Our kids are gonna be taken care of. I can assure that our kids will still do well in everything," said Club.

LaBelle-Fannett Fire Chief Charles Sonnier says they were called to the scene at about 1:30 a.m. and there were no injuries reported.

During the fire, firefighters were pulled out twice when the roof over the front offices began to collapse.

Chief Sonnier says the fire burned eight classrooms, the auditorium and the office area of the school.

The fire was contained to one wing of the school but firefighters had trouble working their way into the burned building because of the collapsed roof and multiple roof structures.

Chief Sonnier says departments from China, Nome, Cheek, Nederland, Port Neches, Sour Lake, Hamshire, Beaumont, Lumberton, Bevil Oaks assisted Labelle-Fannett.

Acadian Ambulance was on site as well as the American Red Cross.

 

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