December 4, 2016:    A devastating fire ripped through the administration building of Union Springs Academy on Saturday, December 3.

Firefighters were dispatched at 1:42 p.m. and were greeted by black smoke coming from the administration building, which also contains classrooms, offices and the gym.

The Auburn Citizen newspaper reported that the fire started in the foyer and gained strength from a large nativity scene’s straw and hay. Heat was also trapped in the building due to its concrete walls and steel roofing.

Firefighters battled the flames and spotted a secondary fire at 4:17 p.m. in part of the administration building’s ceiling.

Compounding the difficulty of effectively fighting the fire was the fact that two of the three closest hydrants were ineffective, one with a reduced flow and the other not working at all.

The school posted updates on its Facebook page, including the news that there had been no human injuries from the fire. A status update read: “We are praising the Lord that everyone is safe and in the dorms.”

Another Facebook update said that school would recommence Monday morning, with classes in the Union Springs SDA Church.

Photo by NordNordWest CC by 3.0