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The Fire 1: Before and After


MENU: Suriname Fire and Rebuilding Report

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1. The Fire: Before and After March 2003 

2. Cleanup and Rebuilding April-May 2003 

3. New School Year Preps June-July 2003 

4. Rebuilding Begins
July-August 2003 

5. The Walls Go Up September-November 2003 

 6. First Floor Shell November-December 2003 

7. Interior Work First Floor January-April 2004 

8. School Construction
January-April 2004 

9. The Second Story
May-August 2004 

10. Fine-Tuning First Floor September-October 2004 

11. Second Story
September-January 2005 

12. Panorama Comparisons

January 2005

13. More School Scenes March 2005 

14. Final, Graduation
2005 April-August 2005 

15. The Finished Project September 2005 



In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 8, 2003, a suspected arsonist (possibly a disgruntled student) decided to light a fire for reasons unknown, under the truck of Rev. Rudy Poettcker, our missionary in Suriname, South America. In short order, the fire began to engulf the truck (which was parked under a lean-to next to the church under the house). A passer-by on a public bus, saw the fire and got off the bus. He ran over to the house and began throwing stones at it and then on the roof to awaken anyone sleeping inside. When that did not work, he ran up the stairs and pounded on the door shouting "Fire! Fire! Fire!" Rudy and Sharilyn were awakened from their sleep in their bedroom in the back of the house with a room air-conditioner. After a quick, but futile attempt to put out the fire (which had now begun to spread to the church and house) he, his wife and a teacher who lives with them, managed to get out of the house before it burned. The Poettcker's were safe, but had lost virtually everything. The teacher lost everything as well.

The fire department was called out to a vehicle fire and did not come with the proper equipment to fight a house fire. By the time it got there the house was engulfed with flames. Rev. Poettcker instructed them to do what they could to save the administrative office section, which was saturated with what water they were able to get through the limited pressure city water lines. However, that little did make most of the school records salvageable.



Christian Liberty Academy sfter the fire of 2006.



The fire started under this truck parked next to the school and church building. The only area of the building that was spared were some of the school records and the hard-drives on the school computers, despite heavy water damage.


Rev. Donnan, the founder of the school and church in Suriname, and ministry director was notified. He was traveling in Canada at the time. He and his wife had raised their children in the house and had built most of the school and church buildings between 1979 and 1986. This was where Reformation Christian Ministries began. As he continued to drive, God comforted him with the words of Job, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. He also reflected upon the past challenges of the Poettckers with the loss of their eight year old son to brain cancer, the numerous challenges in their first years in Suriname, and then the more recent fiasco with U.S. Immigration which barred him from entering the U.S. since February of 2000. When he was finally able to speak to Rev. Poettcker by phone, he told him that him that he could not imagine anyone more qualified to deal with this in a God-honoring way than him. God had uniquely qualified him to cope with this tragedy. By God's grace, only possessions were lost, it could have been much worse.


Go to the next page of The Fire Report.

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