Oshkosh, WI State School Fire, Mar 1916

State Normal School Circa 1880 State School On Fire

BIG FIRE AT OSHKOSH NORMAL SCHOOL.

$150,000 LOSS IS EXPECTED IN FIRE AT STATE SCHOOL.

BUILDING CONTAINS THREE SECTIONS AND IS ABOUT 30 YEARS OLD.

INSURED IN STATE FUND -- THERE IS BALANCE OF ABOUT $125,000 TO COVER LOSSES TO STATE BUILDINGS.

Oshkosh, Wis., March 22. -- The entire plant of the Oshkosh Normal School, with the exception of the new inidustrial building was destroyed by fire early today. The gymnasium, which is apart from the main building is burning and it is believed that there is little chance to save it. The loss is estimated at $150,000. One teacher is reported injured.

The old normal building at Oshkosh was built about 30 years ago. Since then two additions have been built. They are connected with the first building and so the fire had a clean new industrial building, according to sweep. The only thing that saved the telephone information from Oshkosh, was the fact that it is half a block away from the main building. The power house was also saved.
"I do not think that the loss at the Oshkosh Normal School will exceed $150,000," said Secretary William Kittle, of the state board of normal regent today. "Our advices are that the old main building has burned. The new building, in the process of construction, has only its foundation up and so there is no loss there."
"If the loss at the Oshkosh Normal school reaches over $125,000 it may be necessary to draw on the general fund to meet the fire loss at Oshkosh," declared M. J. Cleary, state insurance commissioner today.
The Oshkosh Normal buildings were insured in the state fire fund. The condition of the fund today was cash on hand, $203,448 with liabilities to the general fund of $78,137, leaving a net cash balance in the fund of $125,309.
The fire is believed to have been caused by crossed wires.
The auditorium built in 1876, library in 1869 and science building built in 1894, were completely destroyed. The best the firemen could do was play five streams of water on the blaze without great effect.
Prof. FLING, of the chemistry department, rushed into a burning building to get some books and records and was trapped on the second floor by the flames. He was forced to jump to the ground and dislocated his shoulder. He has been connected with the normal school for 25 years.
Students worked heroically to save the buildings. They saved many books and valuable records.
The buildings destroyed were about 270 feet long and fifty feet deep. The industrial building, which is about 200 feet long, main group, is the only structure which has not been touched by the fire.

Wisconsin State Journal Madison 1916-03-22