GALLIA COUNTY, OH (WOWK) – A fire that destroyed an abandoned high school in Gallia County Saturday evening has been ruled suspicious. Gallia County 911 Center received a call just after 8 PM on July 14th, 2019 that the gymnasium of the former high school was on fire and that the fire appeared to be spreading.
By the time fire personnel arrived on scene, the entire gymnasium was fully engulfed with flames. Crews from Gallipolis, Springfield Township, Middleport, Pomeroy and Rutland Fire Departments worked for nearly three hours to gain control of the fire.
As deputies from the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene to assist with traffic control for the area, they were able to develop information which led to the identification of several persons of interests who were believed to be responsible for starting the fire. Detectives with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office have been working in conjunction with Investigators from the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Bureau since the evening of the fire to both conduct interviews and collect evidence.
At this time, this investigation is still ongoing, however, Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin anticipates charges to be filed in the near future on the individuals responsible for causing this fire
Former River Valley High School was a fond memory to many Cheshire residents. Some would even describe it as “home”.
“I remember going to all the football games and basketball games even when I was little,” says River Valley alum Joshua Fellure, “just seeing this place like this is unreal”.
Many past employees and alumni came out to the building to reminisce on what was once their childhood. Although it was under sad circumstances, it brought old classmates and staff together again. “I think it has spurred a lot of memories that we kind of forgot we had” claims Ron Hammond, a River Valley Alum.
Alumni and staff told WOWK 13 News although the building burned down, the memories will stay.