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Normal School Fire

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"Just before 4 A.M. on Sunday, August 29, 1943, nearby residents heard a 'thunderous noise' from the vicinity of the State Normal School on Windham St. Shortly thereafter, a  telephone alarm followed by box alarm from Box 19 alerted firefighters of the fire which would consume the 48 year old school in an inferno estimated at $200,000..

"The first firefighters on the scene encountered a mass of flames shooting as high as fifty feet in the air and so found it impossible to save any of the furnishings or books in the library which contained 60,000 volumes.

"Embers from the blaze were blown as far as five blocks away. Even though a recall was sounded about four hours after the fire began, firefighters were still pouring water on the ruins until late Sunday afternoon. All that remained were the structures exterior walls.

"Willimantic Engine 1, a 1927 Bullg Mack Chain Drive operates at the Normal School fire as firefighters continue to pour water on the smoldering remains of the building
"Late Sunday afternoon,  Willimantic auxiliary firefighter “Pop” Miller operates another of the V-8 pumps supplying water to the firefighters at the Normal School"

All quotes from "Firefighting in Willimantic"
by Michael E. Tirone and Peter J. Zizka


<<click here to read Tom Beardsley's article about the fire.>>
Fire Chief Michael English on the front lawn inspecting the fire scene.
Firefighters William Smith, Ambrose "Sam" Roy and one other on the hose line.
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