SPARTA, Ga. — Local and state authorities are still trying to determine what caused an Aug. 25 fire that destroyed the old Hancock County Public School and Board of Education Building in Sparta.
The historic building, made of brick, and located just a short distance from where high school football games used to be played on Friday nights, was a complete loss.
All that remains now inside and outside the hull of the building is charred debris.
Memories of the historic building remain etched in the minds of many in the community and reminded many of the devastating fire that destroyed the historic Hancock County Courthouse in Sparta in 2014.
One of those who remembers the fire at the courthouse is Sistie Hudson, chairwoman of the Hancock County Board of Commissioners.
She compared the latest fire to the one at the courthouse.
“It’s another devastating loss for our community — so sadly reminiscent of our courthouse fire, tragic,” Hudson posted recently on Facebook.
More than two dozen firefighters from the Sparta Fire Department as well as the Hancock County Fire Department worked for hours battling intense flames and heat before they were able to extinguish the fire. Even so, hot spots smoldered for several days before local and state fire officials could examine the fire scene in search of what caused it.
As of Monday, local and state authorities still had not been able to establish an exact cause or where it might have started, according to Brandon Wright, communications director for the Georgia Department of Insurance.
“The grounds were cleared last week,” Wright told The Union-Recorder via email Monday afternoon. “An electrical engineer is supposed to be revisiting the site this week.”
Wright pointed out that there was very little chance that state investigators will be able to determine a what caused the fire at the Hancock Public School building, “due to the extreme amount of damage the fire caused.”
Wright said the fire had not been ruled arson and that it remains under investigation.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Sparta Fire Department or Hancock County Fire Department, 404-274-8900, Sparta Police Department, 706-444-5777, or Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, 706-444-6471.