A fire in King’s Village, the City forced the evacuation of students from the Wesley Hall Infants and Junior Schools today.
King Street, the one-way street where the school is locate, was inaccessible as more than 700 students were moved to Passage Road and a nearby business as a result of a fire to a stone and wooden structure located behind the school.
When Barbados TODAY arrived on the scene this morning, parents were rushing chaotically to collect their children, many of the belief that the school itself was on fire. A parent, who was seen taking her two children from the property, told this newspaper she was frustrated and very distressed over the situation. She said she was alerted to the fire via a Blackberry alert which read ‘Wesley Hall School on fire’ and thoughts of burnt children came to her mind so she decided to take her children out for the day.
Acting Principal of the Junior school, Herbert Gittens,, reported however all the children were safe. He said that while the fire was in close proximity, the school was not in danger adding that students were removed to ensure their safety and to prevent any complications related to smoke inhalation.
Teacher, Mencea Crookendale said that after 11 o’clock, when the students were at break they began to smell smoke. Checking around the school for the source they saw nothing but the smell started to get stronger. They then saw the thick, black smoke blazing from behind the school and they, being prepared through their previous fire drills, got the children out safely within three minutes.
Station Officer Tyrone Trotman, said that about 10:53 a.m. they received a call of a fire and within four minutes, eight fire officers and two fire tenders were on the scene. When they arrived the top floor of the eight bedroom structure was engulfed; it received extensive fire damage, he said, while the rest of the property was water damaged. Each room was rented as a separate unit and Trotman said about 15 to 16 people were believed to occupy the property.
Efforts to obtain a comment from the individual believed to be the property manager, who was at the scene of the fire, were unsuccessful as he said he would not be speaking to the Press about the incident.
The school was closed at 1 this afternoon and the Principal reported that about 1.30 minutes to 2 p.m. the blaze reignited and a tender returned to ensure it was brought under control. (KC)