According to Jacksonville police, an old Jacksonville elementary school ignited in flames Wednesday afternoon.
Police say the school has been vacant for several years and the school district does not own the building. The city leased it from the Pulaski County Special School District.
Jacksonville Mayor Bob Johnson said the building is on the national historic registry. The city had plans to rehab it and make it part of a historic city tour. The other old elementary school building next door the city plans to turn into a senior center was not harmed. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but the mayor believes everything is under control.
"Our fire department is real good and I don't think there's a concern now," Mayor Johnson said. "I think they've got it under control and it'll be okay."
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The Mandeville Volunteer Fire Department now has another weapon to fight fires.
A new pumper tanker was purchased from another volunteer fire department in Maryland for $18,000.
State Fire Chief Travis Loehr said the department now has two pumpers in service, but the newest addition can hold 1500 gallons. He said that as more businesses locate to the area, more fire protection is needed. “Having two pumpers responding with enough gear on both of them to fight large commercial fires is why we bought the second truck.”
Loehr said they plan to upgrade the department’s older pumper truck.
Washington County voters will see a proposal for a .25% sales tax increase to pay for an emergency communications system on March 3 primary ballots.
Washington County Quorum Court voted to place the question on the ballot at its Dec. 19, 2019, meeting. Police and fire officials in Farmington, Prairie Grove and Lincoln have all come out in support of the tax and are asking voters to approve the tax as a temporary way to pay for a new system.
The question on the ballot asks voters to cast a ballot either for or against a .25% tax that would be in effect for only 12 months. County officials estimate the tax would raise more than $10 million to pay for a new system that is estimated to cost around $8.5 million.
John Luther, emergency management director, said he wants voters to understand the need to upgrade the emergency communications system used throughout the county.
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