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School fire reveals serious cracks in emergency response in Grand Turk

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IMG_5592Providenciales, 29 Jan 2016 – Fire in Grand Turk, again at a school and the sadness over the losses is palatable with the early morning blaze which destroyed the top story of the brand new Administrative Block at HJ Robinson High.

Making matters worse, the strong view that a lack of Police, lack of a domestic fire unit, a break in and alleged arson all worked in unison to wipe out the Principal, Vice Principal’s and Records offices plus Computer Lab and Library – all were just recently commissioned for the 2015/2016 academic year. Among those on the scene early, was the Member for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay, Hon Edwin Astwood.

“I became even more upset to learn that this fire might have been intentionally started. This will have a serious impact on the students and faculty at the school as they are suffering from some great material losses at this time. This fire has exposed much shortcomings and inefficiencies in the Government’s fire response and emergency systems. I am now calling on the Government to act without delay in addressing this matter, so as to minimize the negative effects on all…”

Astwood says he has been asking for a fire department for Grand Turk for years, but he is always told this essential service is in the pipeline by the PNP Government.

Community members took furniture from the school buildings, FortisTCI cherry picker trucks lifted fire fighters to cope with the blaze.

Education Minister, Hon Akeirra Missick suspended school for the day, this may extend to next week.

Magnetic Media this morning was informed that police had a ‘person of interest’ in custody for the suspected arson; that although the security camera was smashed, the DVR recording device was salvaged.

Police give no details of the investigation, only that one is ongoing.

HJ Robinson High serves 350 students.

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