The Hamshire-Fannett Elementary School in the 2300 block of Burrell-Wingate Road in Jefferson County is closed indefinitely and classes for students have been canceled through Friday, March 21, after an early morning fire March 18 devastated the educational facility.
According to Jefferson County Deputy Rod Carroll and investigators on the scene March 18, the fire was reported at approximately 1:15 a.m. when a passerby called 9-1-1 after seeing flames licking out from inside the school. Firefighters responded and were able to douse the blaze after some time, but not before the building sustained significant structural damage that caused the roof to cave in.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Deputy Carroll said. “We are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.”
Carroll said the Texas Fire Marshal, the ATF, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office are all involved in the investigation being led by the fire marshal. Carroll added that, while arson has not been ruled out, it is much too early to determine how the fire started.
Officers at the scene agreed and said the building must be “rendered safe” before investigators can go inside and gather evidence necessary to determine what might have caused the blaze. Centerpoint Energy was onsite March 18 cutting off natural gas to the school, and no electricity is currently running to the building either, investigators said.
School was canceled Tuesday, March 18, and classes are expected to resume Monday, March 24, according to the office of the Hamshire-Fannett superintendent. School officials are still working out the details regarding where elementary students will be attending classes.
In the meantime, Neches Federal Credit Union is accepting donations for the elementary school. Donation boxes for much-needed office supplies like pens, folders, paper, scissors, notebooks, etc., will be available at all Neches FCU locations. Monetary donations can be made to the Hamshire-Fannett Relief Fund, account number 54383-1.
“One of our strongest core values at Neches FCU is our commitment to the community in which we serve,” said Neches FCU President and CEO Jason Landry. “So naturally, we are rallying around our neighbors at Hamshire-Fannett for a quick recovery.”
Call Neches FCU at (409) 722-1174 in Mid-County or (409) 860-0800 in Beaumont for information.