Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking for the culprit in a late Saturday night fire that destroyed the ticket booth at the South Effingham High School football field.
The fire has been ruled as arson, and detectives have surveillance video footage of the scene.
“We take very seriously any such incidents at a school, regardless of when they occur,” Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said. “This department will work to find those responsible and hopefully deter any further such acts.”
According to investigators, nearby residents heard an explosion just before the small structure burst into flames. Effingham Fire and Rescue crews arrived and found the ticket booth completely engulfed in flames. South Effingham High School Assistant Principal Tammy Hathaway was driving along Highway 30 when she saw the fire crews trying to get onto the school property, SEHS Principal Dr. Mark Winters said.
Winters met with state fire marshals throughout the morning Monday.
“It makes you mad that someone would damage school property,” he said.
Winters added that the school is discussing extra security measures in the wake of Saturday night’s fire.
“One thing that makes me angry is the destruction,” he said. “But they need to be caught and stopped before there is a larger loss of property or even life.”
The school has a $10,000 insurance deductible, but the ticket booth itself was not worth $10,000, so its loss won’t be covered by insurance.
“We have to take money that was earmarked for something else for a new ticket booth,” Winters said.
He hopes a new ticket booth can be built within three or four weeks, allowing for the one week when the school is shut down during the July 4 holidays.
“We’ve got to have one by the time school starts,” he said.
The Georgia Arson Control Program offers up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in an arson case, Winters added.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office at 754-3449.