Mitchell School fire in Racine, Wisconsin: Video, photos

by | February 27, 2014 | Blog | 4 comments

Amy was already up at 2 a.m. when the fire truck horns started blasting down our street. Mitchell School was on fire. Mitchell School and Mitchell 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.

 Mitchell School Fire Updates:

Fire damage at Mitchell School in Racine, Wisconsin on February 27. 2014 at 6:06 a.m.
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.
Racine Fire Dept. puts out fire at Mitchell Schooll
My neighbor told me that one of the firefighters said the ice covered trees would also be goners.
Racine, WI: Mitchell School fire leaves iced tree
Here’s the scene at 12:58 this afternoon, showing how the old gym is now just icy, ruined walls with no roof.
Racine, WI: Mitchell School, post-fire
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.

Mitchell School, one year later:

Mitchell School, Racine Wisconsin, 1 year after fire
Here are two more photos of the rebuilt Mitchell School on Thursday, February 26, 2015 — one year after the fire.
Mitchell School, Racine, Wisconsin: 1 year after fire
This post is tagged: featured, fire, Racine.
  1. Karen Ostrom

    How sad! Such a beautiful building. I went to Mitchell grade 1-9 then we moved to Las Vegas. No OLD architecture there. I’m thankful the whole building isn’t a loss.

    • Mark Czerniec

      We always loved hearing the music students through those windows, getting gradually better as the weather warmed up. It’s going to be different this year, I imagine.

  2. Steve Jones

    I just wanted to add this. I’d heard people talking about the fire trucks blowing their air horns. The reason for this is that this is what the fire departments do when they want their crews inside the building to evacuate. Crews were inside aggressively attacking the flames when the ceiling collapsed into the gym. That would be when the horns started, as in all the chaos the crews can usually still hear the horns while inside and can therefore begin evacuating.

    • Mark Czerniec

      Aha. Thanks for the explanation, Steve. So that would have been right around 2:00 a.m.


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