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Old Amboy School fire was plenty hot
Left: Amboy Middle School Assistant Principal Steve Michaelis in red shirt watches his old office go up in flames. Right: Retired Amboy teachers Dean Bottemiller, left, and George Morris were driven back by the heat moments after this photo was snapped, as were other spectators. Adjacent church was hosed down to protect it. Click "read more."
(More photos below)
The vacant Amboy School, dating to 1947 and replaced in 2008, went up in flames June 30 in a training exercise for more than two dozen volunteer firefighters that cut demolition costs for the Battle Ground School District.
Heat from the mid-morning blaze was especially intense on the north side of the structure at state Highway 503 and Chelatchie Road. For a while, it forced spectators across the street to retreat from the front of a parking lot and the lawn of the Amboy Church of the Nazarene. Firefighters played streams of water on the church. Even so, there was minor paint blistering.
For several weeks Clark County Fire District 10, Cowlitz-Skamania Fire District 7 and local police agencies had used the building for drills.
Unlike the Jan. 21 burn of the old Central School in downtown Battle Ground, there were no day-of-fire drills at Amboy. After a walk-through by Chief Sam Arola and his all-volunteer crew of at least 25 men and women, the rubble inside was torched in three parts of the one-story school. It didn’t take long for flames to be visible to spectators, many who had attended or worked at the old school.
Options for the site are being considered but not yet certain, said Kevin Jolma, director of facilities and operations for the school district. He said some of the bricks are spoken for by the town of Yacolt while others will be given away at a time to be announced. It will be on the school district Website, battlegroundps.org, and sent to local media for publicizing.
Front entrance to the old school, "Home of the Eagles."
The heat would soon drive these folks back a ways.
Firefighting family: Volunteer firefighter Kim Baldwin and daughter
Kiersten, 12, before things got hot. Kim's husband Jacy and their
son Travis, also volunteer firefighters, were in on the action.
Other than some minor paint blistering, the church across the street
Dennis Ritola, two sons and a not-so-interested daughter were still around as
the flames died down.
Even this barricade couldn't stand the heat. (Notice the warp.)