Ilion, NY High School Fire, Apr 1963
FIREMAN DIES, TWO INJURED IN ILION HIGH SCHOOL FIRE.
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