ST. LUCIE’S CONGREGATIONAL ALREADY PLANNING TO REPLACE BUILDING DESTROYED BY FLAMES
Damage estimated at $6,000 to $7,000 was caused at 6:25 o’clock last night when fire of an undetermined origin badly damaged the rear of St. Lucie’s parochial school at 115 North Chestnut Avenue and raged for nearly an hour before firemen got it under control. Two alarms, bringing four engine companies; three hose companies and a truck company were sounded. Prompt work by the firemen saved the two-story frame building which is one of the oldest in that section of the city, from complete destruction.
The fire was discovered by a group of youngsters playing nearby and they warned the sisters of the Sacred Heart and then turned in the alarm. Father Victor Gurisatti, who arrived a minute later, aided by Fire Inspector Bert Lloyd, removed the Blessed Sacrament and other valuable articles from the chapel.
The old building furnished ready fuel for the flames. It was formerly owned by the Scranton School Board and used as No. 16 School. It was purchased by the congregation of St. Lucie’s for a church in 1896 and was used as such until the erection of the new church on Scranton St.
Spectators Hinder Firemen
Engines 3 and 7 and Hose 3, responding to the first alarm from Box 313 were quickly on the scene and began to stretch their lines. Access to an advantageous position, in which to fight the fire, which was fast gaining headway, was blocked by hundreds of spectators, and it was some time before the firemen could get through. Engine 7’s line was put out of commission a few minutes later when overzealous citizens aiding the firemen pulled the hose too hard near the hydrant and it kinked cutting off the supply of water.
Owing to the fact that Battalion Chief Beverly Chase was off duty, Superintendent Peter J. Rosar responded from headquarters. Immediately upon his arrival he "plugged in" a second alarm, which brought Engines 1 and 4, Hose 2 and 10, and Truck 1 to the scene. The second alarm also brought Assistant Chief Edmund B. Lewis, Battalion Chief Chase, scheduled to go on duty at 6 o’clock, also responded.
The fire originated in the cellar of the school near the exit and spread across the floor to the walls and went up through the partitions, spreading out on the second floor and roof. By the time the firemen arrived the flames were shooting from the roof and windows. Two firemen, carrying a line to the roof, were injured when they came into contact with a jagged edge of tin. They were A. F. Flannery, of Hose 3 and Captain F. E. Wilcox of Truck 2. Flannery went to the West Side hospital, where two stitches were required to close a cut on his right hand. Captain Wilcox was taken to the State hospital, but returned to the fire after treatment. Flannery reported off duty last night, but will probably return to duty tonight.
An hour’s hard work by the firemen soon had the blaze under control and at 7 o’clock the companies returned to their respective stations, leaving Engine 7 to finish up.
Arigoni, Goes After Police
Traffic on South Main Avenue and North Main Avenue for several blocks was blocked for nearly an hour. Director of Public Safety James Arigoni, who arrived at the scene of the fire, publicly condemned the lack of efficiency shown by members of the police department and as a result three police officials, all men who have been promoted by Mayor E. B. Jermyn within the past few months, were still smarting today from the effects of the director’s tongue lashing.
The incident was the cause of considerable gossip at city hall today. It seems to have opened wounds which will require more than overnight to heal.
Lieutenant Albert Gleason, commander of the West Scranton precinct: Traffic Sergeant Frank Trappan and Desk Sergeant Harry Sneidman, also of West Scranton, are the men who met with the director’s ire. All three were given a bawling out in the presence of a crowd of several hundred people and one of them is said to have been on the verge of tears due to his embarrassment.
According to reports in police circles today, Director Argoini became enraged over the blocking of trolley and vehicular traffic between West Scranton and the central city. He arrived on the scene of the blaze early. His anger is said to have been arouse when he caught Sergeant Sneidman in a nearby establishment in the act of having his shoes shined.
After expressing his opinion, publicly, of Sneidman and the West Scranton force in general, the director is reported to have "lit into" Gleason and Tappan, much to the discomfiture of those two officials.
The cops wanted to know of their superior how they could keep trolley cars moving with lines of fire hose stretched across the tracks. There was no answer to this puzzle except that provided by the railway company, which had its Hill section schedule disrupted for an hour or more.
When the fire broke out the West Side bluecoats were busy polishing up their buttons and cleaning their uniforms in anticipation of the last night’s testimonial banquet to Director Arigoni, Captain Harry Davis, Captain S. F. Savitts and Lieutenant Gleason.
A checkup of the damage resulting from the fire, made after the blaze had been put out, showed the rear of the school suffered the greatest damage. Damage to the first floor by fire was confined to the rear wall and one side wall. The second floor and roof, where most of the fire occurred, were badly gutted. The first floor suffered heavy water damage. Fire did not reach the chapel on the first floor but water pouring down from above, practically flooded the place. Members of the parish and the sisters removed the altar trimmings and various statues which were highly valued.
The sister’s home, in the rear of the school, was not touched by the fire, although smoke damage was noted. The sisters occupied the building last night. Father Victor Gurisatti was unable to say last night just when the school will be resumed.
Members of three parish societies, at a meeting last night formally opened a drive for funds to be used for the rebuilding of the school. The drive will continue until Nov. 18, when it will be brought to a close at a dance to be held in Casino hall by St. Michael’s society. Heading the campaign committee are Angelo Manno and Pasquale Cloni. They will be assisted by members of the Blessed Virgin, St. Michael’s and Mt. Carmel societies of the parish.
The fire occurred at an inopportune time; owing to the fact that the parish recently started a new church on Scranton Street, which is rapidly nearing completion and for which they are heavily obligated.
The fire was the first second alarm fire in Hyde Park in about five years. The Diamond Oil and Paint company fire was the last.
The Scranton Republican, Thursday, October 28, 1926
TWO FIREMEN HURT: SISTERS ARE RESCUED
Building Saved From Destruction By Efficient Work, Two Alarms Sounded
FIRE STARTS IN CELLAR;
LOSS IS NOT ESTIMATED
To Start Drive For Funds to Rebuild Structure – Sessions Will Not be Held
Fire of undetermined origin did considerable damage to St. Lucie’s parochial school, 115, North Chestnut Avenue, West Scranton, yesterday afternoon at 5:25 o'clock. The fire had gained such headway upon .the arrival of Wes Scranton companies and Superintendent Peter
J. Rosar that a second alarm was sounded by the chief. Engines l, 3, 4, 6, and 7; Hose companies 2, 3, 10, Truck 1; Assistant Superintendent Edmund B. Lewis and Battalion Chief B. M. Chase, fought the blaze for nearly two hours.
Starts in Basement
'Efficient work on the art of the firemen saved the building, which is two-stories high, from complete destruction. Rev. Victor Gurisatti, pastor of St. Lucie’s Italian Catholic Church, by whom the school is owned, was unable to estimate the loss last night.
The fire originated in the cellar of the building, but a short distance from the furnace, Superintendent Rosar announced. It was discovered by one of the Missionary sisters of the Sacred Heart, who act as teaches in the school.
Lieutenant Gleason and Fire Inspector Lloyd aided the eleven Sisters, housed in a building adjoining the school, to safety. Father Gurisatti soon reached the school, and he, with the aid of Fire Inspector Lloyd removed the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle in the chapel of the school. A number of other sacred objects were also carried out of the burning building by firemen and police.
About ten streams of water were played on the building. The fire, upon the arrival of the first companies had reached the roof in the rear of the structure and was spreading rapidly toward the front. They fought the blaze in such a manner as to confine it to the roof and rear rooms of the school. The chapel, which housed a number of valuable pieces of statuary, altar trimmings and an organ, was practically flooded by water.
Two Firemen Hurt
That the 325 students, who attend the school daily, were not in the building at the time is considered most fortunate. The building has been used as a school by the parish since
1914. Previous to that regular church services were held in the building.
Two firemen were slightly injured in fighting the blaze. They are Captain F. E. Wilcox, of Truck 2, and A. F. Flannery, attached to Hose 3 in the Bellevue section.
Inasmuch as the fire occurred near 6 o’clock, when traffic is heavy on Main avenue and the adjoining streets, traffic was tied up for several blocks. The fact that that school is situated on such a narrow street greatly hampered the firemen in getting the apparatus near the fire.
The Sisters of the school last night again occupied their home, which was practically undamaged. IT will be impossible to hold school in lthe building today on account of the condition of the building. Father Gurisatti is unable to say when the sessions will be resumed.
At a meeting of representatives of three of the parish societies held last night, plans were made for a campaign, the proceeds of which will be used in rebuilding the school. The drive was formally opened last night and will continue until November 18, when it will be brought to a close at a dance to be held in the Casino Hall by St. Michael Society.
Pasquale Cloni and Angelo Manno are heading the campaign committees. They will be assisted by members of the Blessed Virgin, St. Michael’s and Mt. Carmel Societies of the parish in raising the money.
The parish recently was heavily obligated by the erection of a magnificent church on Scranton St. This is now nearing completion.
Two-Alarm Fire in West Scranton, Destroys Church
Damage estimated between $6000-$7000 last night when fire of undetermined origin badly damaged the rear of St. Lucie's parochial school at 115 N. Chestnut Ave.
The old building was formerly used by the Scranton School Board and was used as #16 School. It was purchased by the Congregation of St. Lucie's for a church in 1896 and was used as such until the erection of a new church on Scranton St.
A meeting of three Parish Societies, St. Michael's, the Blessed virgin, and the Mount Carmel are heading the campaign a and the proceeds are to be used in rebuilding the School.
The parish recently was heavily obligated by the erection of a magnificent church on Scranton St., that is now nearing completion.
This article taken from the Scranton times 10/28/26 and
The Republician 10/28/26.
*According to deed # the school was not purchased until 1901