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The way it was: School shop fire -- 1957
Spectators watched Riverton firemen battle flames as the Riverton High School shop building burned on Jan. 27, 1957. File photo

The way it was: School shop fire -- 1957

Jan 27, 2014 - Staff

The shop and agriculture building at Riverton High School was destroyed by fire 57 years ago this week.

The 10-year-old building stood just to the south of the old brick bus garage at the original high school property on North 5th West, about 50 yards west of Tonkin Stadium. No trace of it remains.

The fire struck early on a Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27. Riverton fire chief Albert Brown, who would serve as the city's mayor 30 years later, said firefighters discovered that a gas-fed heater had become dislodged from its mount in the attic, which probably sparked the fire.

Smoke billowed for three hours as firemen battled to contain the blaze on a 10-degree afternoon. Bottled oxygen was kept in the building, but the canisters were removed before the exploded. Virtually everything inside was destroyed, although ag teacher Roy Reno's desk was spared, as was a tractor used in ag instruction. About 120 students were enrolled in classes taught in the building.

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