Photo: Annie Lytle fire (January 16, 2012) via Twitter
Late Sunday evening, firefighters were to a blaze at 11:20 p.m., arriving at the old Annie Lytle Elementary School to find heavy smoke and fire rising above the ceiling. According to District Chief Jack Griggs of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, he stated that 90 percent of the school was damaged.
According to locals though, the fire didn’t much more damage than what was already there. Much of the fire was situated around the auditorium where, if you’ve seen pictures, there’s no roof there to begin with thanks to a previous fire back in 1995, except for a little portion which hung over the stage. The fire knocked down that little piece, making the entire auditorium roofless. There appears to be no structural damage to the walls of the auditorium.
Some news stories are claiming that the school is entirely roofless now, which is impossible since the fire did NOT spread to the main building and in any case, the roof of the main building is concrete. Back in 1917 when the school was built, there were no sprinkler systems so the building was built to be “fireproof”.
It may still be possible for the school to be saved but at this rate, there’s little hope for it. This may be the excuse the owners have been waiting for to finally demolish it. If demolition does occur, you could chalk this up as another case of “demolition by neglect”.