Arkansas school begins cleanup after Monday fire

Faculty at Palestine-Wheatley Middle School should return to work Wednesday but its not clear when students will go back to school.

A fire burned the Middle School Monday.

Today, people snapped pictures to permanently capture what remained of the building .   The fire chief says the fire most likely started in a storage area of the gymnasium. But he doesn't believe the fire was deliberately set. "As far as arson? Who would want to set a building on fire full of kids, not me.  And I don't think anybody around here would," said  Fire Chief Rodney Hicks.

The fire was stopped before it reached most of the classrooms. But the heavy smoke damage left left them unusable.  The school district is getting the vacant Elementary School and Civic Center across the street ready for students.

Before the school can open they must  find more desks, books and other supplies.  "We're shooting a day at a time right now. Tomorrow doesn't look good. Monday is probably our target date," said Superintendent John R. Manning.

According to the school district website the faculty is being asked to return to school on Wednesday.

We'll keep you updated on when students will head back to class.

As for the fire investigation, the fire and police chief says state investigators should be at the school on Wednesday.