Who Set Fire to Principal’s Office at Our Lady of the Way R.C.?
On Monday night, police responded to a report of a fire at Ladyville R.C School where the lower flat of a two-storey building was engulfed in flames. Quick action by the Fire Service contained and extinguished the fire. The fire, which was deliberately set, destroyed the principal’s office and thousands of dollars in machines and records went up in the blaze. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was in Ladyville today to speak with Principal Denise Neal who says that while the fire destroyed her work space, the impact extends beyond to the children and wider Ladyville community.
On Monday night a burglar or burglars tried to gain access to this office at the Our Lady of the Way R.C School in Ladyville. The burglars cut the burglar bar and pried open the louvers, but it appears that when the looters were unable to gain access, they set the room on fire around ten-forty p.m..
Denise Neal, Principal, Our Lady of the Way R.C School
“I am here with a heavy heart because I got a call last night stating that the office was on fire. And I was in disarray. I couldn’t believe it. Immediately after I got the call, I got in my car and drive up. Upon arrival it was confirmed that indeed the office was on fire.”
“Now, Principal, what have you heard about this fire? How was it set or what caused it?”
“According to the fire-fighters after they concluded with their investigation, they said it was arson. They tried to break into the building through the window. They tried to cut the burglar bars but they were unsuccessful. They made an attempt to pry open the louvers. The school flag was close by and that was what they lit on fire and as a result the stuff that we had in the office was destroyed.”
Over the years the school has become a target for burglars in the Ladyville Area. This fire has set the school back on resources valued over at thirty-thousand dollars. For an institution with limited funds, the school still owes for machines that were destroyed in the fire.
“The school has suffered a lot from burglary over the past and they still haven’t stopped. I just want to say to the individuals who did it that you are not going to get us down. We are going to get back up. It is a setback but God is good and we are gonna rise from here. It is sad because while it was my office, my little space; it was for the school; it was for the community; it was for children. So, they have just deprived a community; a poor community of something good.”
“Have you been able to estimate the value of what was damaged or what you lost?”
“It was a lot. I would say, whew, well, over about thirty thousand dollars in stuff; in terms of the machines, the computers, the photocopiers and valuable files for the students, for the teachers, you know? So, it is a huge loss.”
While investigations are still ongoing, it is believed that the arson was committed by more than one person from the Ladyville community. The school doesn’t have any form of surveillance and security at night. As a school with limited resources, Principal Neal is asking the community for support.
“I am taking this opportunity to ask anybody in the community, doesn’t have to be in the Ladyville Community, but anybody out there who would like to assist in getting us to rebuild back our office for us to get back to do what we were hired to do – which is to educate young minds and build a better Belize.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.