Posted by: newenglandarchivist | October 9, 2013

Peabody, MA Fire of 1915

St. John's Garden
Memorial Garden at St. John’s School
built in remembrance of the victims of the 1915 fire
Peabody, Massachusetts

It’s hard to imagine these days, but at one time the necessity of fire escapes in schools or most public buildings was debatable. On October 28, 1915, a fire swept through St. John’s School in Peabody, Massachusetts, killing 21 children between the ages of 6 and 17. Only 2 days before, a fire drill had been conducted by the Sisters of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, two days later, a fire somehow started in the basement just before school began. By the time it was discovered just after the morning bell rang, it was already too late. Smoke filled the corridors, adding to the confusion and panic.

To learn more about the Peabody fire of 1915, check out the October issue of the Annals from the Archives.

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