An abandoned Battle Creek school, whose halls had once been filled with the laughter and shouts of young schoolmates, has once again been the target of vandals. The halls are now filled with the scent of smoke and the eerie remembrance of better days, long gone.  

Battle Creek firefighters were dispatched at 2:31 p.m. Thursday, March 3rd, to the former Southwestern Junior High School. This marks the 5th fire at the school which has been closed since 2009. The last trip to douse flames at the schoolhouse was December 5th, 2021. 

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Crews arrived within 3 minutes of receiving the call, finding light smoke showing from the building. An investigation revealed that the auditorium area was the chosen target of vandals. Engine 2, Squad 2, and Engine 5 teamed together, stretching a hand-line through the darkened halls to reach the auditorium and extinguish the fire. Other crews assisted with overhaul and ventilation of the scene. 

The blaze was under control within 20 minutes and damage was isolated to the stage, which once was the site for memorable school plays and Jr. High band performances. 

The good news is that there were no injuries during the firefighting tactics, the bad news is that the Fire Marshall has deemed the cause of the fire as “suspicious”. Once again, the all too familiar plea is that anyone with information on the fire should contact the Battle Creek Fire Department at 269-966-3519. 

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