SOHRA (MEGHALAYA), Jan 23 - Meghalaya�s oldest school that withstood the �Great Earthquake� of 1897 has been reduced to ashes in a devastating fire, suspected to have been caused by a short circuit.
Six classrooms, a laboratory and the office room of the Cherra Presbyterian Secondary School, established here in 1847, were destroyed in the fire and innumerable antique photographs and documents were lost in the inferno, headmistress VMD Waanbah said.
The office chowkidar, a woman, reported the fire at around 2 am on Thursday but the fire brigade reached the school one and half hour later though it is located less than a km away, Waanbah alleged.
By the time the fire tenders reached the school, most of the school�s property was reduced to ashes, she said, adding that a large number of furniture and three computers were also lost in the fire.
Most importantly, the school lost all its records kept right from 1847 when the institution was set up, as well as the other land and office documents.
Photographs of the school�s founders were among the valuable possessions gutted in the fire, Waanbah said.
The pre-Board examination that has been going on in the school was also called off after the incident.
However, the headmistress said, education of over 200 students studying in the school will not be affected as classes can be held in the annexe buildings while effort is on to construct a new building to replace the old one.
Fire brigade officials said it might have been caused by short circuit in one of the rooms.
The Welsh Mission had established the school in 1847 in a stone-walled tin-roofed house, which is now gone. It was later handed over to the Cherra Presbyterian Church.
Many eminent personalities of the State took their early education in the school and Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy is one such alumnus. � PTI