Fire breaks out in historic one-room school house near Pandora
PANDORA, Jan 10, 2013 (The Lima News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Antique wooden school desks sat in the middle of a local one-room school house, ash and smoke still rolling steadily from the hundred-year-old roof.
Flames shot out of the Bridenbaugh historic school house on Road 6 near Pandora as the sun was rising Thursday morning.
Firefighters were called to the corner of Road 6 and Township Road M-6 around 6:30 a.m. for the brick building that was originally built in 1889. It is formally known as the Bridenbaugh District No. 3 Riley Township School.
"When we got called out, flames were showing through the roof," Riley Township Fire Chief Jason Kinsinger said. "We made access through the window in the front, sprayed water in there and got it knocked down."
The fire was in the attic, but firefighters had to knock a hole about six feet wide in the ceiling to get to the fire.
Kinsinger said he believes the fire started around the wood burner. No one was in the building at the time.
"We believe that it was a chimney fire, but we're still looking into it," Kinsinger said. "It was the only thing that was running. We'll have to mark it as unattended fire because they had a fire going without them being on the property."
There was significant smoke and water damage to the school house, soot covering the chalkboards and the cursive alphabet border hanging above it. Insulation from the roof littered the floor.
Kinsinger hesitated to place a value on the property because of its historical value. There was a wooden teacher's desk, a few old-fashioned school benches, a wooden chair, an Ohio flag, and a few other odds and ends saved from the school house.
"With a historical thing like that, it's hard to say," he said.
The school house has been in the Bridenbaugh family for generations, but current owner Dale Bridenbaugh did not return calls for comment.
According to the Putnam County Auditor's website, the land is valued at $29,171.42, but the building on it is valued at $800.
In 2000, Bridenbaugh received the Ohio Historical Society's Preservation Merit Award for his preservation and restoration of the school house.
Other events from 1889, the year it was built, include: George Eastman sold his first Kodak camera, the Eiffel Tower opened, and North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington became states.
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