Fire that destroyed storage building on school grounds ruled arson

BRIDGEVILLE – A fire Thursday evening on the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School property that destroyed a maintenance storage building was an act of arson, the Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal has determined.

The fire, reported shortly after 7 p.m., involved the storage pole building behind the elementary school on Church Street, John M. Galaska, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal said.

Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company arrived first on the scene and found smoke and flames coming from the structure. Mutual aid fire companies assisted at the scene.

In their investigation, state fire investigators determined that the fire was intentionally started. The arson investigation is active and ongoing, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is seeking those responsible for setting the blaze, Mr. Galaska said.

Heavy fire damage is estimated at $80,000, Mr. Galaska said. There were no reported injuries.

Woodbridge School District Superintendent Heath Chasanov said the pole building was used primarily for storage.

“There was some equipment; a lot of old, spare furniture, desks, chairs …,” said Mr. Chasanov. “From what I have seen from the outside looking in, it looks we’re not going to salvage anything out of it.”

Anyone with information regarding this fire is encouraged to call the State Fire Marshal’s/Sussex Division at (302) 856-5600 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.  No one will be required to give their name.