Charles City, IA High School Fire, Mar 1931

Charles City, IA High School

Fire Destroys High School at Charles City


$80,000 Insurance Held by Board; Little Is Saved.

CHARLES CITY, March 25.---Fire destroyed the Charles City High school building here this morning, in a short time gutting the three story structure and leaving only part of the walls standing on three sides. Insurance on the structure amounted to $80,000.

The blaze was discovered at 5:50 o'clock this morning by neighbors. At that time the east side of the basement and the northeast corner of the assembly room were in flames. When firemen arrived, fire was coming from the windows.

It is thot by firemen that the blaze started in the furnace and boiler room altho the origin of the blaze is unknown. The structure had been built for many years and the floors, oiled many times, burned rapidly.

Flames Spread Quickly.

Firemen could do little to stop the spread of the flames which quickly went from the assmbly[sic] room to the entire structure. The floors of the buildings and the desks served to kindle the blaze.

The roof was burned and the entire east wall, where the fire was first seen, fell in. The front walls and portions of the end walls are all that are left standing.

On March 9, [ineligible] of Charles City approved a bond issue of $250,000 for the erection of new high school. Plans will progress rapidly on this new structure. The board had planned to use the old high school building for a junior high when the new structure was completed.

Erected in 1899.

The high school was erected in 1899 and was of brown brick construction. No one was in the building when the fire broke out. An explosion occurred in the chemistry room after firemen were fighting the flames.

The only thing which was saved from the burning structure was a file of records in the superintendent's office, located in the northwest corner of the building.

Next week was scheduled for spring vacation by the students. It is expected that the school board will make arrangements for housing the classes after vacation.

Band Instruments Destroyed.

A large number of band instruments were destroyed in the fire. Whether or not this will have any bearing on Charles City high school's participation in music contests has not been determined.

Journalists of the high school had completed copy for the annual and were ready to send it to the printers but left it in the building. It was burned.

Two hours after the fire the school was nothing but smoldering ruins. A large crowd of spectators gathered in nearby streets during the morning.

Mason City Globe Gazette, Mason City, IA 25 Mar 1931