Investigation into Baker High School fire begins

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus fire crews worked through Wednesday night to put out the massive fire at the old Baker High School building, but their job doesn't stop there.

For the next few days, officials will be on the scene trying to determine the cause of the fire. Right now it's a waiting game until the building is safe enough to enter.

Columbus Fire Marshal Chief Thomas Streeter told News Leader Nine, "Right now we have investigators out canvassing neighbors in the area to see if they saw anything suspicious in the area last night."

Streeter says the cause of the fire is not yet determined because of a concern for safety inside the building, "It's not only the hot spots but the building is not stable at this point. Because of all the fire damage it sustained, we don't want to send anyone in with the possibility of them getting hurt."

Wrecking crews went to the old Baker High School around 3:30 p.m. to start tearing down walls. Only after the structure is deemed safe, can fire investigators go inside.

Streeter added, "Once we get in and really get to see it, we can't determine a cause of the fire. The game plan is to get the building stabilized. We may take some more walls down so we can get inside."

The Muscogee County School District actually still owns the building. They sold all the seats in the auditorium, and we're told all of them were removed last week, meaning nothing of great value was left inside the building. The district was in the process of taking bids for the demolition, which is still scheduled for the next month or two, but they tell us this fire doesn't change their plans.

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