School: Colby Upper & Lower Elementary (Condemn Building - 1978)

Contact: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Awe, Brunker, Frome

----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 11/25/2015

Originally published in the Abbotsford Tribune-Phonograph, Wednesday, November 29, 1962

Colby firemen condemn school

A stirring letter from the Colby Fire Department became the top issue discussed at the board’s regular monthly meeting at the high school library November 20.

The letter, addressed to all the residents of the Colby School district, said:

Did you ever think that, when our child goes to the Upper or Lower Elementary school, that it may be the last time you see him or her?

We believe if a fire broke out in these buildings when the children are in school, only two out of five would escape, One child will burn to death, on child will be trampled to death and one will died from smoke inhalation Of the two that escape, one of these will be injured - probably seriously If a boiler explodes, most of the children will die.

These are the facts: The wooden stairways and floors in these buildings are saturated with 70 years of repeated coats of varnish and wax. They will burn like gasoline, causing a flash fire that would spread over the entire building. The wooden stairways in the center of these buildings will immediately funnel a fire to the top classrooms.

The boilers are about 48 years old. The ceilings in the boiler rooms are plaster - not cement. Most of the original wiring is still in this school. It was never meant of handle the present electrical equipment being used.

The firemen can only bring a fire under control and protect surrounding property and in the case of a school - dig the bodies out of the rubble.

As the Colby fire chief and assistant fire chiefs we can not accept the responsibility for the lives of the children.

Sincerely yours,
Royal Awe, Fire Chief
Milford Frome, First Asst. Chief
Lee Brunker, Second Asst. Chief



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