Pomona, CA High School Fire, May 1956

High School, Pomona, CA photo from familyoldphotos.com High School On Fire

FLAMES GUT HIGH SCHOOL.

CIGARETTE IN REST ROOM MAY HAVE CAUSED FIRE.

Pomona. -- A wind-fanned fire swept through Pomona's only high school yesterday, virtually destroying the 35-year-old building and sending 1500 students on summer vacation a month early.
There were no injuries reporterd, although one fireman was overcome by smoke battling the blaze. Damage was estimated tentatively at more than $500,000.
The fire apparently started in a girls' rest room, and firemen were investigating the possibility it may have been caused by a cigarette.
Pomona Supt. of Schools LeROY ALLISON, however, said a short in the wiring of a conduit box could have been the cause.
The main classroom building and auditorium were reduced to hollow shells. Only machine shops were spared.
ALLISON estimated that the cost of replacement would be perhaps $1,000,000.
He said he did not see much chance of obtaining other facilities for the students to finish the last month of their semester.
If the State Department of Education will continue paying the school districts as if the students were attending, ALLISON said, he would ask the Board of Education that the youngsters be allowed to start vacations now.
He said he has not considered any other plan. A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. ALLISON said he would talk to the state officials before the session.
A $7,500,000 bond issue, including $2,000,000 for construction of a high school in West Pomona, was approved by Pomona voters two months ago.
Firemen were hampered reaching the blaze by frantic parents who rushed to the scene. Thousands of persons, attracted by the spiraling, flames, flocked to the high school.

The Independent Pasadena California 1956-05-15