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Small Fires Damage Classrooms at Addelita Cancryn Junior High

July 25, 2008 — V.I. Police and firemen were called to Addelita Cancryn Junior High School several times this week to investigate a series of small classroom fires.
"The fires had been extinguished when we arrived," said Fire Marshal Richard Lindo on Friday.
The marshal received a call Tuesday to assist police officers investigating the fires.
"We found pried louver windows in some of the classrooms, and graffiti on the walls," he said. "One classroom had books scattered all over the floor, but nothing had been set afire. In another adjacent classroom, books had been thrown all over the floor and then burned. There was evidence that the fires had been extinguished. It would appear that whoever lit the fires was controlling them in order to avoid detection."
Police called Lindo again Friday, where he met basically the same scene. Five classrooms in all were affected, he said.
"The police forensic unit is investigating the fires," he said. "We are working in a joint effort with the police department. We do have some leads currently under investigation."
Anyone with information should call Lindo at 774-7610 or call the police at 911.
"This raises questions about security in schools this summer," said Sen. Liston Davis, Education and Cultural Affairs committee chairman, speaking on Radio One Friday. "Three incidents involving arsonists attempting to set fire would mean we have to increase security. We don't want another incident with classrooms burned in the summer where we have to pay large sums of money to repair them before school can start."
The smell of smoke was overwhelming in the almost-deserted school Friday afternoon, leading right to a classroom littered with ash and burned books. Emile Proctor, a summer employee working for a private contractor, looked over the mess.
"We had this all cleaned and scrubbed last week," he said, shaking his head.
The beleaguered school has been the object of arsonists before. In 2004, a midnight fire destroyed several classrooms, the art room and other facilities. Students were out of school for several days after the fire, and were short of classrooms for the balance of the school year. It took eight months and a two-day job action by teachers and students for the work on the classrooms to get back under way. (See "Students Deem New Cancryn Classrooms Cool.")
Juel Anderson, Education Department public information officer, directed calls for comment to Joseph Sibilly, Education Department superintendent. However, as of late Friday, no calls were returned.
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