Mitchell School fire in Racine, Wisconsin: Video, photos
My wife Amy was already up at 2 a.m. when the fire truck horns started blasting down our street. Mitchell School was on fire. Mitchell Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School are co-located. The entrance to Mitchell Middle School is on Drexel Ave. at Webster St. Just south of that entrance, huge plumes of flame were rising out of the old gym/cafeteria hall. The windows had already blown out.
Amy said she first heard the fire engines around 1:30. The temperature was 7 degrees and falling when we went outside for a better look. A policeman shooed me back from the corner, and some of our neighbors joined us to marvel at the blaze. In just a few minutes, my gloved fingers were aching from the cold. I can only imagine what it was like for the firefighters, standing on ladders in the wind to spray water on the fire for hours.
Pictured above is the fire’s aftermath at 6:06 a.m. According to Fire Chief Steve Hansen, the fire was officially struck by 4:30 a.m., and while the gym is a total loss, the rest of the school sustained only smoke, water, and heat damage.
My neighbor told me that one of the firefighters said the ice covered trees would also be goners.
Here’s the scene at 12:58 this afternoon, showing how the old gym is now just icy, ruined walls with no roof.
The rest of the school seems outwardly unaffected. There have been a few people going in and out most of the day, so we’ll wait for word of how bad the smoke and water damage is.
One year later:
Here are two more photos of the rebuilt Mitchell School on Thursday, February 26, 2015 — one year after the fire.