School Fire at Vergennes, Vt.
The Administration building of the Vermont State Industrial School, at Vergennes, was recently destroved by fire, with an estimated loss o_____ $75,000. The fire was discovered in the cupola at 1.30 P. M. Its cause was unknown. A telephone alarm was at once sent to the fire department three quarters of a mile away Chief A Men responded with five hose reels and a ladder truck manned by a competent force of olunteers, but when they arrived the building was beyond saving. A glance at the accompanying illustration of the building before the fire shows how effectively the flames did their work. The structure consisted of three parts, a center with two wings, a cupola on each front corner. The construction was of brick veneer, with a thin brick wall separating each wing from the center. Even this wall acted as a preventive of the spread of the fire at the start, and had there been an adequate supply of water the fire might have been confined to the north wing. The water supply was through a 4-inch main with a hydrant within 100 feet of the burned building. Two short lines of hose were connected to this hydrant and one to another hydrant. With two lines the pressure was sufficient to carry streams to the second floor, but with three lines there was not pressure enough to accomplish much anywhere. The fire was a hard one to fight on account of the veneer construction and the wide studding as the fire spread under cover, and as fast as it was checked in one place it broke out in another. There was no wind, and rain was falling, so the spread of the flames was slow. It was nearly two hours before the fire got beyond the wall separating one wing from the center, but when it did get by all hope of saving the building was abandoned
From the time the fire started, until the last brick was down, about 5 o’clock, the scene was one of fascination. Standing as it did in the center of a park, there was ample opportunity to see the fire do its work on all sides.
The basement was used as play rooms, equipped with lockers. The main floor contained the office, a large parlor, two dining romms. two kitchens and two reading rooms. On the second do r was the chapel, also officers’ rooms. The third floor had officers’ rooms and two large dormitories. Most of the contents was saved.
When it was certain that the huilding could not be saved, a call for assistance was sent to Burlington, and Chief C. A. Niles had an engine and hose with 20 men at the depot in a few minutes. The Superintendent of the railroad wanted to know who was to pay for transportation. After a delay of about an hour Chief Niles put it squarely up to the superintendent: “Do you furnish the train, or don’t you?” Then the order was given to start the train. When Charlotte was reached the train was sidetracked for 25 minutes, to allow a passenger train to pass, and when Vergennes was reached it was nearly 5 o’clock and the building was wholly destroyed.