Historic Blazes in Somerville Schools

1979 Fires Plague Somerville Schools

Did you know that there was once a serious fire at Somerville High School!? The fire took place on March 18, 1979 and was labeled a three-alarm fire. The firetrucks first arrived at the scene at 4:30 am and were led by Fire Captains Thomas Doherty and Robert Glover. Seven classrooms were destroyed by the fire and the cost of the damages were around $250,000 (about $550,000 in today’s money).

Somerville Firefighters at SHS Fire SceneWhile the fire was blazing at the High School, there was another fire happening at the West Junior High School. After an investigation, the Police Department determined that the two fires were unrelated. The High School seemed to have been a work of arson. It appears that there was forced entry from the rear and/or east entrance and small fires were started in separate rooms. However, there was no entry detected at the Junior High School or the use of any materials that would indicate an intentional act. There was minimal damage to the Junior High School. We weren’t able to determine if someone was apprehended for the High School fire based on the records available in the library.

Source: Powers, Barbara. “SHS Fire: 7 Room Loss”. Somerville Journal, 22 March 1979, pgs. 1-2.

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