Fire destroys Tampa elementary school

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2017

- Tampa Fire Rescue confirms crews are working a 2-alarm fire at Lee Elementary School of Tech in Tampa.

Tampa community members and local activists have pressed the district repeatedly to change the elementary school's name.

The school was not on the county's list of hurricane shelters, per information available on its website.

The school was not being used as a shelter for Hurricane Irma evacuees, but almost 329 students and 49 staff members will be displaced.

The school was named Michigan Avenue Grammar School in 1906, but was then renamed after Lee around 1917, according to city archives and historians.

Earlier this summer, school board members were trying to rename the school as part of a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols.

Witnesses say the fire started right after power was restored to the building after flooding from Hurricane Irma. The TV station had a reporter on the scene shortly after the fire broke out. The neighborhoods soon lost power again. They set up three water cannons on the ground and used ladder trucks to aim two more from above.

Officials don't believe the fire to be suspicious, however they are still investigating the cause of the inferno.

Flames are visible from the roof of the building and people reported seeing smoke from as far away as Davis Island and the Howard Frankland Bridge.

"I'm in awe", said Bia Harris, who was house-sitting for a friend across Columbus Drive.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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