RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Early Thursday morning the Pocahontas Fire Department was called to a fully involved fire at an abandoned building.
Upon arriving firefighters discovered the old building was once a schoolhouse.
Because the fire so heavily damaged the building, officials are not sure if they will investigate a cause.
According to Pocahontas Fire Chief Darrel Kester, they were called to the schoolhouse fire in the 6500-block of Engleberg road around 5:15 a.m.
He said when they arrived, the building was fully involved and the roof had already caved in.
Kester said they reached out to the owner of the property and learned that in fact the building had been abandoned for the past 10-12 years.
"I think that what happened there we will never really know exactly," said Kester. "We are just happy that no one was injured in it and nothing that we can say went wrong in the burn."
According to Chief Kester, several firefighters who responded to the fire said growing up in Pocahontas, they knew of the historical value of the old school house but knew it had been abandoned for a long time.
Several former students also stopped by to see what was left of the old school house including 77-year-old Carlton Throesch who described the school as being a "Good little school."
Throesch attended the school decades ago first through the eighth grade and he said he could remember walking a mile to and from school rain or shine with his classmates.
He said in his years of going there, he was taught by nuns before it became a public school.
He said overtime, the school began to get rundown and after it was abandoned for several years, he always wanted to see it make a comeback.
A hope he does not see happening anymore.
"You know we should have fixed it up and kept it like how the schools are in Pocahontas but nobody got behind it because I guess we all were too busy," said Throesch. "Just a little old country school that's not here anymore is what it amounts to. Not here anymore."
Throesch said he is very thankful for his experience at the old Engleberg School and that he upset to see a part of Randolph County's history go up in flames.
According to Fire Chief Darrell Kester, an investigation is dependent upon whether the landowner wants answers or not.
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