1951: Central Elementary School Fire

School after fireOn this night in 1951, Middletown’s Central Elementary School caught fire, causing damage of over $250,000 and forcing the relocation of over 560 students. By 1 o’clock, the blaze was out of control, and threatened to destroy the entire three story building. By 2 o’clock, more than 2000 Middletown residents had gathered behind the fireman’s lines to watch the flames.

Fire Chief J. Franklyn Dunn had to order all four of Middletown’s fire companies to the scene to put out the blaze, as well as request assistance from the departments of Portland, Cromwell, and the Russell Manufacturing Company. It was the worst fire in the town in over a decade.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.


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