Update: Fire caused by chemicals in lab; school to be closed until next week

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Education Minister Priya Manickchand interacting with firefighters

Preliminary investigations into a fire which erupted at the Christ Church Secondary School at Camp and Middle Streets, Georgetown revealed that the inferno was caused by chemicals in the institution’s science lab.

At around 16:29hrs today, firefighters were alerted to the fire at the school. Four units responded and upon arrival, the officers observed smoke emanating from the building.

Quick action resulted in the source of the fire being identified and contained.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand told reporters that as a result of the situation, the school will remain closed this week and will reopen on January 9.

Firefighters at the Christ Church Secondary School

The Minister revealed that at the time of the fire, teachers were still in the building. However, no injuries have been reported.

The Education Minister further expressed satisfaction that the school was saved from total destruction.

“Anything that destroys a school really hurts a lot of children for a long time,” she posited.

She also acknowledged that many other schools have labs with the same chemicals and in this regard, noted that this is a cause for concern.

Firefighters at the Christ Church Secondary School

“We’re in that process right now, looking at all high schools and how we can make sure we dispose safely of chemicals that may have expired, and I’m not suggesting that that’s what happened here, I’m just saying that’s one of the processes we’re engaged in currently,” the Minister said.

She noted too that efforts are underway to examine and update where necessary, the wiring in schools.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief (ag) Gregory Wickham told the media that “as they (fire officers) arrived and they were able to gain entry, they recognised that it was not generally smoke, but it was some chemicals. And so they entered the prep room and… were able to identify the area where the chemicals were.”

He added that though fires caused by chemicals are not something which the Fire Service regularly responds to, officers are well-trained and equipped to handle any such situations.