An early morning fire in Colonial Beach may have taken a historical building from the town, but it didn’t take the many cherished memories generations of the town’s residents have. These memories were on the minds of everyone this morning when they woke Sunday, Jan. 5 to find Colonial Beach Elementary School, a 100-year-old landmark, had burned beyond repair at approximately 4:00 a.m.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters from numerous jurisdictions responded to the call-including units from LaPlata, MD.
School Board Chairman Tim Trivett said that he heard the alarm at approximately 3:52 am and was on the scene in minutes. His initial photos showed the building to be engulfed in flames. Reports indicate that the fire was largely on the front side of the building that faces Washington Avenue and that it burned toward the back. Washington Avenue was closed off to traffic at one point and traffic was redirected around to Lynnhaven Avenue.
There appeared to be no damage to the adjacent buildings or pods. The gymnasium, often called the Crackerbox, suffered substantial water and smoke damage and school personnel on the scene stated that it would likely be unusable.
The fire was brought under control within minutes, but there were problems with the water supply as the hydrants could not supply the volume needed.
Trivett said that the school board and town council were meeting this afternoon to discuss their options. For now however, he emphasized that student safety was of utmost importance.
The elementary school will be closed on Monday, January 6th, but the middle and high school will resume their normal schedule.
The Westmoreland News will post updates as they unfold.