Fire destroys historic Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tampa
A fire has destroyed a Tampa, Florida, elementary school that was in a neighborhood that had just had power restored after Hurricane Irma hit the state.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP/MEREDITH) — A fire has destroyed a Tampa, Florida, elementary school that was in a neighborhood that had just had power restored after Hurricane Irma hit the state.
The school named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee reportedly caught fire Tuesday evening around 6:45 p.m.
Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny told the Tampa Bay Times that the first firefighters to arrive quickly called in more units. More units responded, but eventually the roof on the northeast side of the three-story brick building collapsed.
Penny said the fire didn't appear suspicious, but that it would be investigated.
"We have investigators on scene, the fire marshal," Penny said, "but I want to make something very, very clear — because I know that in our atmosphere this can be contentious — but indications now have nothing to do with the name of this school," told the newspaper.
He said investigators were considering whether the fire could be linked to restoration of electrical power in the area.
The elementary school had been closed this week because of the hurricane.
The Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies and Technolog was built in 1906.
Earlier this summer, school board members were trying to rename the school as part of a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols.
Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.