Fire damages historic schoolhouse
by TP staff
Feb 14, 2014 | 8784 views | 6 6 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Schoolhouse damaged in fire
Fire crews tear away a section of the burned wall of the Lammersville School in Clyde Bland Park after fire destroyed a section of the building Thursday evening.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A fire burned an outside wall of the 1870’s era Lammersville School at Clyde Bland Park, 1753 Blandford Lane, damaging a section of the historic building Thursday evening.

Tracy Fire Department Capt. Mike Oliveri said the fire department received the call of a fire at the one-room school house at the east edge of the park at 8:11 p.m.

Oliveri said the first crews arriving on scene could see a column of smoke rising from behind the school.

Crews found a fire along the wall on the northwest corner of the school house burning up along a window and wooden shutters.

Oliveri said the flames reached nearly 12-feet high along the wall as firefighters began to fight the fire.

The fire burned through the window flooding the schoolhouse with smoke.

Firefighters forced the doors of the school open and moved the vintage desks and other items away from the wall as crews brought the fire under control.

The fire was put out within 10 minutes Oliveri said and crews removed a large section wall and poke holes in the ceiling to check if the fire spread into the space between the walls and ceiling.

The schoolhouse fire was the second fire at Clyde Bland Park on Thursday. Oliveri said firefighters responded to a grass fire in the park along the sound wall of Interstate 205 at 6:30 p.m. The small patch of grass burned about 60 yards north of the school.

In a press release issued Friday from the city manager’s office, public works superintendent Robert Gravelle said the city has been experiencing a rash of vandalism in the area.

The building suffered moderate fire damage including smoke damage to the interior of the schoolhouse. The press estimated the cost of the fire damage at $35,000.

Oliveri said the fire department considers the fire suspicious as it started on the cement that ringed the schoolhouse. An arson investigator was on scene Thursday night looking for evidence in the charred remains.

The schoolhouse was brought to the park in 2001 and used for a Pioneer Days program to give Tracy Unified School District third grade students a glimpse of school life from the 1870’s. The press release stated the program has been suspended until further notice.

As of Thursday night Tracy code enforcement officers were called to survey the damage to the building and public works department crews were going to board up the door and burned out section of wall.

Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

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February 23, 2014
How sad. My children, nephews, nieces used to play there and when the school house was added we took pictures of everyone in front of the doorway. I just can't imagine it being an arson.
February 16, 2014

This is a very interestin story an will receive some comments, unfortunately negative ta th apartment dwellers an th rest of th nearby community.

It appears ta be vandalism.

Knowin how old wooden structures tend ta rapidly burn ta th ground, I am wonderin how th report of fire was received, in that its obvious that while serious damage was made considerin th age of th buildin that they were able ta put it out in time ta keep th entire buildin frum bein totally destroyed.

I am guessin that th fire detection equipment in th buildin was th first hint but ya didn't say in yer story.

If that's true, perhaps some public instruction on th value of such equipment ta protect other things of interest ta th public is warranted?
February 17, 2014
You are correct, the smoke detectors signaled an alarm to the Fire Department and the quick response saved the structure from becoming a total loss.
February 14, 2014
They need the cops driving through the apartments more often. I have to laugh as I live in the area where this happen and when they proposed building the Apartment Complex, we were assured at the City Council meeting that they would have 24 hour on site security. Well guess what, that was a little snippet to quiet us that were apposed to the Apartments being built. There never has been on site security and never will be. There are some wonderful folks that live there, and then there is the others! Honestly, I am surprised they never had problems with the schoolhouse up until this point.
February 15, 2014
True that many in the surrounding area could predict problems with the apartment complex, and it has been. The greater percentage are for low rent/subsidized units. Some families need this, but unfortunately that also accommodates many who create the need for frequent police interventions. The park is mainly occupied by characters who behave as if it is "their turf". I wouldn't bring my large dogs to walk there. Our street racing problem on Lowell and Joe Pombo Parkway … they seem to be occupants at the apartments too. The company that built these apartments got huge breaks from the city, requiring them to rent the major amount of units to low income. Maybe this should be reshaped/adjusted.
February 14, 2014
Reward fund? I'll be the first to donate for information leading to the arrest/procecution of the arsonist. Makes me sick~

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