A mysterious fire on Saturday completely gutted the main section of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral school and also destroyed the first smart classroom launched in Guyana in 2015.
Details surrounding the cause of the fire remain unknown at this time, but the News Room understands that smoke was seen emanating from the top flat of the building at around 13:00hrs.
An eyewitness, Sharmain (only name given), told the media that she was the one who informed the Guyana Fire Service. The woman, who operates a snackette a stone’s throw away from the school, said that four fire tenders responded some 30 minutes after the call was made.
“They come and only two had water and they take some to come like half an hour. We see smoke coming from the top, straight smoke all over the top and that’s when we call,” Sharmain told the media.
When the News Room arrived at the scene, firefighters were already in action attempting to get the blaze under control but the fire had already engulfed the top flat of the main building, which housed classrooms, science laboratories, along with Guyana’s first-ever Samsung smart classroom.
Allison Cosbert, the Headmistress of the school, who was also at the scene, said that she was at the salon when she received a telephone call from a past teacher about the fire. When she arrived, the entire main building was already gutted.
“I’m hurt and I’m shocked because I never expected something like this to happen but it is unfortunate…I’m here standing watching it go up in flames, being the Headmistress…it is devastating,” Cosbert said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, who was also on the scene, pledged the government’s support to rebuild the structure, deeming the fire “a huge loss”.
“I want to say to you, the students, that government has already started looking at replacements to ensure that your education is not interrupted.
“We are also working to determine where we are going to place the students who have to write their CXC exams. All the students of (North Ruimveldt school) will be writing their exams and passing them,” the Education Minister emphasised.
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, was also observed at the scene; he ran into the burning building without any protective gear and was overheard directing the firefighters.
The institution was an A-Grade that housed 512 students along with 39 teachers. Investigations are ongoing. (Shikema Dey)