Friday, January 13, 2012

School fire gives pupils vacation day

This story was published by the Daily Ypsilanti Press on Friday, January 13, 1922.

Fire starting in bales of waste paper in the basement of the old building necessitated dismissal of pupils in the central school this morning. Smoke was noticed in various rooms as it followed the ventilators from the basement, but little attention was given it till it became so thick that investigation was made and it was discovered that fire had gained considerable headway. Alarm was sounded and in excellent order the pupils marched out, the larger ones by the fire escapes, emptying the entire building in less than three minutes.

Firemen responded promptly and the blaze was soon under control. There was practically no damage, except from smoke, fire being confined entirely to one store room in the basement. The second grade, taught by Miss Milks, is immediately over the room where the paper was stored, and it was necessary to tear off a base board on each side of the room to make sure that there was no fire smoldering in the partitions. There was practically no other damage, excepting loss of waste paper.

Just how the fire started in unknown. There are various theories, such as spontaneous combustion, or someone dropping a cigarette, or that a match might have been swept up with some of the paper, but no one can be quit sure just what the cause really was.

This is not the first fire that has started in the basement, but on the previous occasion the blaze was discovered before it had gained much headway, and was extinguished with chemicals in the building.

Chief Miller of the fire department is to be commended for the quiet manner in which he responded to the alarm. Being only across the road there was no need for the siren, and it was not used. Chemicals and a line of hose were quickly pressed into service, and there was no unnecessary commotion. News of the fire, however, spread as rapidly as the flames died out, and within a half hour there were a number of breathless parents on the scene to make sure that their little ones were safely out of the building, and to help them check up on their belongings, but there was nothing else for them to do, and the confusion that the siren might have caused was avoided.

School will resume as usual Monday.

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