TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Officials say a fire that destroyed a Florida elementary school was caused by electrical failure and extensive water damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies and Technology had just had power restored when the fire broke out. Wednesday’s report from Tampa Fire Rescue comes amid rumors that the fire was set by someone angered that the 106-year-old school was renamed in 1943 for Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Investigators were unable to pinpoint the precise cause of the electrical malfunction, but said extensive water damage sustained by the structure during Hurricane Irma likely was a factor. The roof on the northeast side of the three-story brick building eventually collapsed.
The Tampa Bay Times reports fire displaced 329 students and 49 employees.