Investigation Underway Into The Cause Of A Tuesday Fire At Lizana Elementary School

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX)--To Harrison County Fire Marshal George Mixon, the spot where the fire started and spread is clearly marked in the V shaped pattern left on the wall of this class room at Lizana Elementary school. The damage, says School Superintendent Henry Arledge is significant in 3 or 4 classroom, but thankfully limited elsewhere.

"There's smoke damage all throughout the building,"says Arledge. "Theres some water damage from the fire hoses but mainly smoke damage throughout the building."

How it started is still being investigated but the question Henry Arledge needs answered is how to get the mess cleaned up and the damaged repaired in a little more than a month.

"Clean the walls, clean the floors, clean the ceiling tiles or take it out, replace them. Electrical will have to be restored and we'll have to make sure we have the furniture that's damaged ordered "

To do all those things before the fall term begins, Arledge is given emergency powers by the county school board to sign off on contracting deals himself.

"By law I can then go out and get quotes on repairs to the building. I do not have to go through the bidding process you normally do or in a case like this where you have an emergency."

Insurance will pay for most of the clean up and repairs, which Arledge says will begin as soon as investigators determine the cause. And he's confident the building will be ready when the school bell rings in August.

"I've had other schools burn and we had to get them back in operation," says Arledge. "So I know that we can have it operational and back by the start of school."

by Don Culpepper