Ilion, NY High School Fire, Apr 1963

Burned out High School Burned out Auditorium


Ilion, N.Y. (AP) -- A fireman was killed and two others were injured fighting a fire Sunday night that wrecked a large section of Ilion High School in this Mohawk Valley village.
BURTON T. SEYMOUR, about 39, of Ilion, fell from the roof of the three-story building to an asphalt courtyard. He was dead on arrival at Ilion Hospital.
Police said the two had climbed to the roof of the 50-year-old brick building by ladder and were dragging a hose across the roof to play water on the flames raging in another section of the school. The third fireman suffered a minor cut. He was treated at the hospital and discharged.
The fire broke out on the third floor of the center section of the E-shaped building and swept through classrooms on the floor and into the auditorium on the second floor.
School Supt. GEORGE PURPLE estimated that 20 to 25 of the more than 50 classrooms in the high school were damaged either by fire or water.
The fire was confined for the most part to the central section and the third floor, PURPLE said.
The roof over the section was destroyed.
The flames, whipped by strong winds, threatened for a time to spread to other wings of the building and to an adjoining elementary school.
PURPLE said no estimate of the loss had been made. He also was unable to say what caused the fire.
The school had been closed for the Easter vacation last week and was due to open this morning.
Clocks in the building were stopped at 10:50. The fire was discovered minutes later Sunday night.
PURPLE said the night custodian had been through the building at 9:30 p.m. and nothing was amiss then. He said also that a guidance counselor had been in an office in the center section until about 9 p.m.
Besides the auditorium, the fire or water wrecked the girl's gymnasium, the school's administrative offices, the library, health office, a language laboratory in which equipment had been installed last week, guidance offices, and the school bookstore.
Student records were saved, PURPLE said.
Classes were cancelled for today for the 1,200 pupils in grades seven through 12 in the high school and for the pupils in the adjoining elementary school.
Plans for emergency quarters for the high school pupils could not be made. PURPLE said, until it was determined how many classrooms still could be used.
Firemen from Utica, Herkimer, Frankfort, Little Falls and other nearby communities helped Ilion firemen battle the flames.

The Citizen-Advertiser Auburn NY 1963-04-22



i was walking to the building when i heared a man scream "FIRE" i was really freaked out bc i'v heared ghost b4 in my friends hows so hearing that a fireman died in it really keeps me on edge.


yeah i have a picture of it if anyone is interested

you can contact me at

Burton T. Seymour

While he was seen in our school in the background of a picture of my 2 friends, he still does have a name and should be recognized by that name. He does not "haunt" our school he merely resides there, as this is the place he died. He will probably be seen again but students should not be scared as he was a very well respected kind man and im sure his family would not like to think of him as a scary "ghost" of which he is not. Stop spreading rumors!!!

The fireman has a name, it

The fireman has a name, it is Burton Seymour.

Please stop spreading rumors that his ghost haunts the High School!

he was seen in the back of

he was seen in the back of a picture that my two friends took of themselves in the mirror, in the new girls locker room with blood on his head.

The Fireman that died still hangs around my school

The brave fireman that passed on still is around my school and has been seen multiple times, its pretty freaky and now everyone is scared if their at school st night you never know what might happen.....