Indiana high school abandoned since 2008 goes up in flames

A fire broke out at a historic abandoned school in Indiana late Saturday night, prompting former students to react on social media.

The Gary Fire Department shared photos on Facebook of flames shooting through the former Ralph Waldo Emerson High School. The department was assisted by firefighters from Merrillville and Munster.

“This is so sad. I'm eternal [an] Emersonian,” one woman wrote in response.

“Although you are gone now, your memory will live on in our hearts forever. Class of 71,” another former student wrote.

Ball State University says it was the first high school built in Gary, Indiana.

It was built in 1909 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995.

Some say the building remained vacant for too long after it closed in 2008.

In response to the fire department's post, one man wrote: “It's time to tear it down. Don't let it sit and burn for another 25 years.”

“Should have just melted it down…it was about time,” said another.

On December 9, 2023, a fire broke out at the abandoned Ralph Waldo Emerson High School in Gary, Indiana. gary fire department
The building had been vacant since the school closed in 2008. gary fire department

Reports say the building has experienced vandalism and even crime over the years.

In 2015, the strangled body of a 17-year-old girl was found at a former high school in the 700 block of East 7th Street, ABC Chicago reported.

The Gary Fire Department told the television station that the fire was extinguished around 3:45 a.m. Sunday, causing extensive building collapse.

The school has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995. gary fire department

Arson investigators are investigating the cause of the fire. A similar fire reportedly occurred a few months ago, and the building was gutted. No injuries were reported.

A spokesperson for the Gary Community School Corporation said the district no longer owns Emerson.



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