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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago today: No one hurt in Bryant School fire

From the Oct. 20, 1920 Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (S-R archives)
From the Oct. 20, 1920 Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A terrifying situation had a happy ending at the Bryant School in Spokane.

Students were hard at work at about 9:30 a.m. when sparks from the chimney ignited the school’s roof. Several mothers nearby saw smoke and flames and frantically called the fire department.

Fire crews raced to the scene, informed the teachers, and began evacuating students. The firemen trained hoses on the fire even before the children started filing out of the building.

“The fire would have been a serious one if everything hadn’t gone ahead with clock-like regularity with the department, and with the children, too,” said the assistant fire chief. “… The manner in which they followed out the work learned in their fire drills was fine. There was no disorder or excitement, and they came out as though on parade.”

Damage was held to a minimum, although the roof would need repairing.

From the bank robbery beat: Police discovered an intriguing clue in their investigation into the Union Park Bank holdup the day before.

Bank officials said they had received a typewritten letter three months earlier.

It read: “A gang is planning to rob the bank. After the robbery, I will know their hiding place. Will call and get reward.”

It was signed, “Ethel.”

The letter was postmarked Tacoma. Police did not know for certain whether this letter and the recent holdup were related. In any case, “Ethel” apparently had not yet come through with a phone call.

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