Sparks Torch Debris at Holly School Old Gym


Smoke from Holly Gym Fire, from a Distance

Smoke from Holly Gym Fire, from a Distance

(courtesy photo)

Sparks from a cutting torch ignited construction debris at the old gym at the former Holly school Wednesday afternoon, July 10.  Holly Fire Chief, Kyle Neill said the wood in the gym was very old and extremely dry.  The debris had been piled up to quite a height inside the building.  “We received the call around 3:45 in the afternoon and it took only about 90 seconds before the fire was fully engaged,” he said.  The metal beams were being cut for salvage while the wooden debris from the demolition project was going to be hauled away to the dump. 

No one was injured by the fast moving blaze but a call went out for assistance from the Country Rural Fire Department as well as the fire Department just up the road in Granada.  Strong winds swept the fire from the gym and cafeteria onto the adjoining roof of the old school.  Neill said a connecting wall between the two buildings was knocked down to prevent the fire from reaching other areas of the abandoned school and the departments extinguished that portion of the fire.  The decision was made to allow the building to safely burn down and extinguish what was left.   

The Granada Fire Department returned to their bay, and began cleaning equipment around 7:30pm, when an intense thunderstorm covered portions of southeast Colorado and the strong winds, despite the heavy downpour, were so strong there was concern the fire would return to full strength or get out of hand and spread. The earlier responders were called back to control the blaze a second time until the storm and winds died down. 

Thursday morning, Neill said the materials in the former gym had continued to burn, and he planned to allow it to continue until later in the afternoon, when a decision would be made to completely extinguish the fire.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: communityCountyFeaturedFire Department-RespondersHollyProwers CountyPublic SafetySchoolWeather


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