Amid concerns that the Muscogee County School District will demolish what remains of the vacant and now partially charred Baker High School, former Columbus South Inc. leader and Baker alumnus, Reggie Richards, is calling for a protest.
Speaking this afternoon against the backdrop of the smoldering school that caught fire Wednesday night, Richards said she and other Baker alumni will stand outside the building with signs to protest if the school district tries to demolish Baker without first removing whole bricks and the contents within.
"All we ask for are the belongings that belong to the Baker family," Richards said.
Richards said she and other Baker graduates plan to remain outside the school most of the day today and encouraged other alumni to join them.
The blaze began shortly before 9 p.m. and was confined mainly to the area adjacent to Victory Drive. The portion of the building along Benning Drive appeared unaffected by the flames.
Eight fire and rescue units were sent to the old school at first, with two cranes extending over the building. The fire took about three hours to bring under control, said Fire Marshal Thomas Streeter. Thirteen units and some 60 firefighters battled the blaze.
Valerie Fuller, the school district's spokesperson, said the school district is still assessing the damage to the building for insurance purposes and to determine if the fire will affect the cost of demolition.
Fuller said according to the district's Plant Services department, all items of monetary value inside the building, like auditorium seats, were sold and taken out last week.