Bush fire affects school

Three days a bush fire forced the evacuation of 900 plus pupils at the Princes Town No1 and No 2 Presbyterian Primary Schools, classes had to be dismissed early again on Monday.

President of the PTA Nola Ramjohn-Karim said the fire damaged the school's water lines and a hydroponic system which was set up inside the school compound. Ironically, it started behind the school, around 11 am on Thursday, shortly after the T&T Fire Services completed a drill at the school, Ramjohn-Karim added.

"Children left their bookbags inside the classrooms and evacuated. The school was closed on Friday because there was a Presbyterian Teachers Convention and this morning when they came to prepare the classes, there was no water to clean," Ramjohn-Karim said.

She noted that a galvanized WASA line became further corroded by the fire and eventually ruptured.

"We called WASA and they said they will fix it. There is water in the 2,000-gallon tanks but the water has to pass through the lines using a pump. Because of the damage to the water lines, the water could not flow through the taps," Ramjohn-Karim said.

She called on the Princes Town Regional Corporation to assist in cleaning the area near the school fence.

"If that area is cleaned, the fire would not have come upon the fence. The fire did not come into the compound. It stayed on the grassy area to the western side of the school. Some of the children were asthmatic and could not take the smoke. The school had to be dismissed early," Ramjohn-Karim said.

Contacted for comment, Chairman of the Princes Town Regional Corporation Gowrie Roopnarine said the Corporation has been assisting the school which currently accommodates both the Presbyterian No 1 and Presbyterian No 2 schools.

"I am sorry to hear about the fire but we will assist by providing a  fire trace around the school to prevent any more bushfires in the dry season," Roopnarine said. 

- by Radhica De Silva. Photos by courtesy Nola Ramjohn- Karim, PTA president.

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