Poplar Bluff school deals with second suspicious fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Poplar Bluff, MO

Poplar Bluff school deals with second suspicious fire

Poplar Bluff school deals with second suspicious fire
By: Holly Brantley

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - School leaders in Poplar Bluff say someone set fire to the JROTC building early Monday. This after another arson fire in the school's cafeteria last September.

The fire gutted the modular building where some 125 JROTC students attend classes. So, they will be displaced until the end of the year. Their building will probably  be completely replaced.

In the meantime instructors make sure their schedules aren't disrupted. "Anytime there's destruction, it's hurtful," said Major Greg Crites.

According to school officials, investigators believe someone started this fire. "There was a trash can and it was set on fire," Superintendent Ernie Lawson said.

Lawson says a delivery driver spotted the driver and called 911. That call came in around 4:15 a.m. And, it could have come just in time. "I think there's a good chance adjacent buildings could have caught fire," said Lawson.

The fire in the JROTC building marks the second time this school year investigators believe an arsonist started a fire at the high school.  Lawson says they don't know if students or other individuals are behind the fires, or if the two blazes are related. However, he worries there might be more fires, so school officials are taking steps to prevent them.

"I know we will take all precautions," said Lawson. "Our priority is the students. We will try to work with local police and maybe get some new lights around the building. We might also need patrols."  

Meanwhile, JROTC instructors will use this experience as a lesson for students. "It shows the need for applied JROTC programs where we talk about values and responsibility and respect," said Maj. Greg Crites.

There have been no arrests in connection with either fire. At this time, there are no federal officials investigating.

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