Monday, January 14, 2008

Fire Destroys High School

On January 14, 1903 around 5 a.m. Janitor B. F. Prestcott went to the main public school building to attend to the four furnaces in the basement. Everything appeared all right and the janitor headed to the Educational Hall next door to attend to their furnaces. It was then that he was alerted to smoke and flames coming from the basement of the school building. He quickly ran next door but was unable to get into the basement because of the thick smoke and flames. He made every effort at that time to insure the building was closed up as to not allow air into the flames.

Firemen were alerted about 6:30 a.m. and arrived quickly on the bitter cold morning and had a stream playing on the fire but the flames spread to fast and were already showing from the attic when they arrived.

The fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed the large two and one half-story brick building erected in 1873 and situated at the corner of Normal Avenue (Prince St.) and Burd Street. The building contained the high school, two grammar schools, two intermediate schools and two secondary schools. Damages were estimated in excess of $25,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the blaze.

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