HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – As the old Army Navy Hospital overlooking downtown Hot Springs sits empty, vandals are making their way in and destroying the historic property. Now the state is planning to resume security on the campus to stop that from happening.
Currently there is no security covering the 20-acre campus and people have been taking advantage of that. Pictures from an anonymous source show doors kicked in, windows broken and trash left out.
Dr. Jack Porter, the head of the Chamber of Commerce committee dedicated to saving the Army Navy Hospital said security is crucial as the destruction continues to get worse.
“They got in there and they turned on the fire suppression system and flooded part of the building so that was just a few weeks ago,” Dr. Porter said. “That’s just one of ongoing things that are happening.”
Dr. Porter said the danger isn’t just to the property itself, but the entire city of Hot Springs because of the fire risk. The Army Corps of Engineers did a study that shows six buildings on the campus are rated a ten out of ten for fire threat.
Dr. Porter said if a fire were to start on the 20-acre campus it could take out most of downtown Hot Springs and contaminate the thermal water.
“Without security it’s not a question of if the fire is going to start, it’s when the fire is going to start and when the fire starts the fire chief will tell you there is no way to stop that fire until it reaches the hot springs mountain tower,” Dr. Porter said.
He said that is because there is no way a fire truck can get through the campus to stop it.
The state does plan to resume security on and around the property because of this. That could start in June.