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Authorities: Small fire on south Forsyth Montessori school grounds intentionally set
Fire department

Forsyth County fire officials are investigating the cause of a small suspicious fire that was discovered on the grounds of a Forsyth County private Montessori school on Monday morning.

No child or person was ever in danger during the incident, authorities say. But the fire was intentionally set, now they want to know by whom and why.

The fire was spotted around 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19, after administrators and staff of the Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs on Old Atlanta Road arrived for the day. The fire was in a landscaping area about 15 feet from the building, according to Division Chief Jason Shivers, spokesman for the Forsyth County Fire Department.

Shivers said that the approximately 1-square-foot-wide fire was smoldering when staff members arrived on scene and was quickly doused.

"But still of course it was an alarming find, and they notified the sheriff's office," he said.

Investigators with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and fire department immediately began investigating the scene and reportedly found evidence that the fire had been intentionally started.

Shivers said that investigators found a glass mason jar sitting in an upright position at the site, containing partially-burned paper material similar to a paper towel or napkin. But he could not comment if signs of an accelerant were found at the site.

Fire department investigators believe the jar had been placed at the location on purpose and was the source of the fire.

"It was clearly intentionally placed there in some manner," he said.

Shivers also stressed they do not believe the jar was thrown on the property, calling the incident "strikingly odd" and unlike any other incident the fire department has ever dealt with.

To their knowledge, the fire department is not aware of any threat being made against the school, Shivers said

"Investigators are continuing to make this a daily priority,” he said. "We are looking into it with all due haste and it is being taken as a very serious matter."

Shivers also asked for anyone with information regarding this incident to immediately come forward to authorities.

The Forsyth County fire marshal's office can be reached by calling 678-445-8072.