READY TO ROLL

READY TO ROLL

Friday, May 15, 2009

WESTERN SCHOOL - 1954

On Jan. 4, 1954, a general alarm fire swept the 99-year-old Western Grade School at West Main and Yellow Spring streets.

Eight teachers and 275 pupils were safely evacuated by the time firefighters arrived, demonstrating the value of regular fire drills.

The Springfield Daily News reported that when the alarm sounded teachers ``did not know it was a real fire'' and ``headed their charges out of the building before they realized the building was aflame.''

Coincidentally, an earlier school by the same name was destroyed by fire in February 1858.

Four years later, a fire at the Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago claimed about 100 lives, leading to sweeping changes in school fire safety across the U.S.