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Collinwood school fire...



Item # 557342

March 5, 1908

THE OMAHA DAILY BEE, Omaha, Nebraska, March 5, 1908

* Collinwood school fire - Lake View conflagration
* Cleveland Ohio
* Ash Wednesday disaster


This 10 page newspaper has one column headlines on the front page that include:

* MANY PUPILS DIE IN FIRE
* School House in Collinwood, Suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Burned
* Hundred And Sixty Dead
* Bodies of Little Ones Choke Exits and They Roast to Death
* Younger Children Were in Temporary Rooms in Attic

and more. Other news of the day.

Usual browning with little margin wear and tear. Somewhat pulpish and must be handled with care.

wikipedia notes: The Collinwood school fire (also known as the Lake View School fire) of Ash Wednesday, March 4, 1908 was one of the deadliest disasters of its type in the United States. 172 students, two teachers and a rescuer were killed in the conflagration in Collinwood, Ohio, a community that has since been absorbed into the city of Cleveland.

While the Lake View School was built with load-bearing masonry outer walls, much of the four story building's floor structure system used wooden joists. It was one wooden joist that caught fire when it was overheated by a steam pipe. The building’s main stair case extended from the front doors of the building, up to the third floor; without benefit of fire doors. The stairwell acted like a chimney, helping to spread the fire quickly. Oiled wooden hall and classroom floors also fueled the fire.

A common misconception about the building's design is that the doors opened inward. They did not, as has been verified in accounts of the fire written at the time. Doors to the building were equipped with common door knob latches, not the more modern crash bar type latch. As panic leading to the crush of a large number of students in stairwell vestibules contributed to the death toll, students also died as a result of smoke inhalation and the fire itself. Some children died jumping from second and third story windows. Community members watched as victims trapped in the building were burned beyond recognition.

Those killed in the fire who could not be identified, as well as those students whose parents could not afford a burial, were buried in a mass grave in Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery. Additionally, several families who lost their children in the fire chose to bury their children's remains adjacent to the Collinwood victims.[1]

Following the fire, the remains of the Lake View School were demolished and a memorial garden planned for the site. A new school, Collinwood Memorial Elementary School (razed in 2004) was built adjacent to the disaster site, and incorporated many features that had been lacking in the previous building. Unlike the building involved in the disaster, the new school incorporated fire safe stairwells, a central alarm system, and was built of steel framing and other fire-safe materials. Although the new school was torn down in 2004, a memorial plaque remains on the site as new development is added to the area.

The disaster also led to a national effort to change doors at public buildings so that they opened outward, and made "panic bar" latches on doors required in all schools. The final casualty of the fire was the independence of the Collinwood community itself. Unable to sufficiently guarantee fire safety resources for its residents, voters approved an annexation of Collinwood into Cleveland within two years of the fire.

Category: The 20th Century

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