Arson Fire Destroys Abandoned School

A four-alarm fire destroyed the abandoned Truman Elementary School in northeast Oklahoma City. Investigators quickly determined the fire to be arson and arrested three male suspects that day. The L-shaped school building was constructed with a wooden frame with brick veneer and a flat tar-and-gravel roof. The building was over 36,000 square feet with a one-story wing and a two-story wing. According to an Oklahoma City Public Schools spokeswoman, the school was closed in 1987.

At 4:07 P.M., Oklahoma City firefighters were dispatched to a report of smoke in and around the building at 1324 North Kelham Ave. Engine 12 and Rescue Ladder 6 initially responded on the alarm. Engine 12 arrived on scene and reported visible smoke and fire coming from the building and requested a commercial structure fire response. Due to heavy fire conditions, the fire was fought using defensive tactics. The incident commander requested a three-alarm response at 4:23 P.M. and a four-alarm response at 4:45.

Nine engines, five rescue ladders, one heavy rescue, one hazardous materials unit, four battalion chiefs and several command staff personnel responded to the scene. Seventy-five firefighters worked for four hours to bring the fire under control. Three portable monitors were placed on the east side, three on the west side and one inside the building. Three aerial master streams also operated. Crews used a roof trench cut and placed portable sprinkler nozzles into the roof to help contain the fire. Damage was estimated at $250,000. No one was injured, although one resident reportedly was transported from the neighborhood, possibly due to smoke inside her home.