Hahira Elementary Fire

It's been exactly one year and a day since the old Hahira Middle School burned to the ground because of arson, but two Lowndes County residents are $10,000 richer and three juveniles are now paying for their actions.

Although a year has come and gone, many folks in Hahira vividly remember the day three arsonists reduced the school and city landmark to ash and rubble.

M.C. Nelson, a Hahira resident, says, "It sure brought back a lot of memories and it was sad for me because I had so many memories of it."

They are memories shared by many folks in this community, a community determined to find out who sparked the flames.

Dwight Bennett, the fire chief, says, "It was just an outpouring of information that came from the general public that led to the capture of the individuals.”

Insurance commissioner John Oxendine presented a $10,000 check that will be given to the two folks who provided the information that led to the arrest and conviction of the three arsonists.

All that's left of the old Hahira Middle School is an empty lot and a couple of bricks. City officials say folks can now move on since the case has been officially closed.

Myron Crowe, Hahira Mayor, says, "You hate to lose any historic buildings and that was a historic building that touched so many lives."

But folks say the reward sends a strong message that arson won't be tolerated in this community.

Since the start of Georgia's arson hotline in 1979, 10 Lowndes County residents have received rewards for information that led to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist.