State Normal School Destroyed at Cortland

State Normal School Destroyed at Cortland

The New York State Normal School at Cortland, a three and a half story structure of brick and wood, fifty years old, was recently destroyed by a fire that started, it is supposed, from spontaneous combustion, about 6 A. M. The janitor was in the fire room, which was in a separate building, about 6.15 o’clock, when he heard a nearby resident cry “Fire.” He immediately ran outside, and saw that a room in the practice school was a mass of flames, which were spreading rapidly to the attic over the main building. An alarm was immediately telephoned, but the school fire alarm whistle was being moved at the time from one building to another, so that only a few of the firemen could be reached at first, and when the department, under Chief William R. Riley, arrived it found the flames pouring through the roof and all the floors already involved and the fire beyond control. Four hydrants, 6-inch double, were available, 200 feet apart; with a water pressure of 80 pounds from a standpipe gravity system. Nine streams were thrown from 1-inch nozzles. Cotton, rubber-lined hose, gum treated, was used and 6,400 feet were laid, of which five lengths burst, greatly hampering the firemen. A fire wall, built in 1890, separated the old and new parts, but extended only to the attic. Had this been built through to the roof, the fire could have been confined to the old building, the firemen say. A “paper” chute extending from the basement to the third floor gave the fire an added draft. The fire was stopped in about three and a half hours, leaving the property, valued at $250,000, a total loss. Half of the library, which was considered the best normal school library in the state, together with all the school’s records, was saved. The accompanying illustrations show the building as it stood, the fire in progress, and the ruins.

State Normal School, CortlandThe Fire at Its HeightThe Gutted Building

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