DeKalb school fire may have been arson

Hundreds of schoolchildren won’t be able to return to class Tuesday after Fairington Elementary School in Lithonia was damaged by fire.

Arson is suspected in the Saturday night blaze.

DeKalb Fire and Rescue crews arrived 5 p.m. Saturday at Fairington Elementary School to find smoke and flames coming from a classroom at the rear of the school.

“We are investigating this as an intentionally set fire,” DeKalb Fire and Rescue Capt. Eric Jackson told Channel 2 Action News. “There was no one in the school at the time and there were no injuries to any of our firefighters.”

Jackson told the news station that damage was limited to one classroom, but that there may be water damage to the hallways. He said the timing of the fire — on a weekend, when the school was empty — suggested that it may have been the work of an arsonist.

School officials said the the smoke and soot will make it impossible for the school’s 720 students to return to class Tuesday morning. The district plans to announce at 10 a.m. Monday where students will report for classes Tuesday.

A window near the kindergarten area was smashed, said Quinn Hudson, spokesman for DeKalb County Schools.

Hudson said the school is in the middle of a residential area and asked neighbors who may have seen suspicious activity to contact the police. He added that a crew of 140 disaster recovery technicians were at the school Sunday evening working to repair water and smoke damage.

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