Dallas Academy building damaged in fire
The old Dallas Academy building was damaged in one of several fires that appear to be intentionally set overnight.
In addition to the Dallas Academy building, an abandoned home on Selma Avenue and a dumpster behind PNC Bank and Charlie’s Place were also set ablaze between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Witnesses said fires were also set at an apartment near SABRA Sanctuary’s office and at a two-story apartment behind First Cahaba Bank.
Bystanders say authorities told them a handful of fires were set. Attempts to gather more information from Selma police and fire departments continue.
The Dallas Academy building, which the city of Selma owns, houses the Selma Ceramic Art Program and an office for the Boy Scouts of America Tukabatchee Area Council.
Executive director of the Ceramic Art Program Candi Duncan said most of the damage in the Dallas Academy building was in a room used for painting in the basement. From street level, it appears the Boy Scout office had some damage.
Duncan, who was on the scene shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday and back later in the morning, was hopeful the building could be saved and most of the ceramic art program’s materials could be recovered.
“Hopefully, they will let us get back in there. My fear is that they will condemn it,” Duncan said. “I want them to do whatever they are going to do insurance wise, and then we’ll start salvaging stuff.”
Jeff Cothran with the United Way of Selma and Dallas County said the Boy Scouts would be working out of his office “until it gets sorted out.”
Volunteers worked Sunday to secure the building, which was missing doors and windows, as best they could.
According to the Rural Southwest Alabama website, the Dallas Academy building was constructed around 1889 as a private school funded by the Ladies Education Society of Selma to educate the sons of daughters of Selma’s wealthy citizens. The building later became Selma’s first public school before closing in the early 1960s.