Old Spring City High School Fire July 19, 1985
On the afternoon of July 19, 1985, about 125 firefighters battled a blaze at the old Spring City High School. Their efforts saved the new Spring City K-8 elementary school building from burning also. The new school was set to open for the 1985-1986 school year.
In 1985, the Rhea County Fire Chief was Chief Gene Glaze. He said the old school was being torn down by the Salvage & Lumber Company from Knoxville. Glaze continued, stating that a workman was cutting steel pipes and sparks fell to the old oiled floors of the building during the demolition process, thus starting the fire.
According to Chief Glaze, the fire had gotten into the attic area and was burning between several layers of old roofing. The firefighters were able to contain the fire within about 45 minutes of the fire being discovered; however, it took four hours before firefighters felt confident that the fire no longer posed a threat.
The proximity of the burning structure to the new school caused the most concern, and for a short while the new school was in danger of catching fire also. All the available fire hydrants in the area were used to supply the firefighters with plenty of water. Firefighters from neighboring communities responded to the call for help. Both Rhea and Meigs County Fire Departments responded as well as the City of Dayton’s 55-foot Snorkel ladder truck.
Firefighters remained on the scene into the night as a protective measure to ensure that there were no missed hot spots that could cause any further danger. Volunteers brought food and drinks to the firefighters supplied by area restaurants and businesses.
The old high school had still been in use for the previous school term serving as the middle school for Spring City. This old school building held some fond memories for all the students who had graduated from here when it was a high school along with the students who had attended here when it served as a middle school.
Photos Courtesy of the Rhea County Historical Society.
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