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Large fire severely damages former MLK Jr. School in Trenton

The fire started Monday around 2 p.m. and quickly became a five-alarm fire.

Matt Trapani and Naomi Yané

May 15, 2023, 10:30 PM

Updated 404 days ago


A large fire badly damaged the former Martin Luther King Jr. School in Trenton.
The fire started Monday around 2 p.m. and quickly became a five-alarm fire. The school has been abandoned for more than a decade.
The building is located at Southard Street and MLK Boulevard. Officials say that at least 60 firefighters from five fire companies came to fight the fire.
News 12 New Jersey is told that the fire appears to have started near the gym. The fire caused a roof collapse that also took out the third floor. It forced firefighters to evacuate the building.
“Fire companies attempted to get a breach to put the fire out but unfortunately, because of the load of the fire, they had to immediately evacuate,” says Kenneth Douglas, director of the Trenton Fire Department and Emergency Services.
Witnesses say that they heard a loud boom when the fire started.
“I heard the boom I just didn't know what it was and that was before I saw or smelled anything because I was inside,” says Trenton resident Ciona.
The school was initially named Trenton Junior School No. 1 when it opened in 1916. It was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in 1990. It closed in 2007.
There were plans to turn the school building into senior citizen housing, but those plans were put on hold.
Officials say two houses were damaged by heavy embers that landed on the porch and roof but were quickly put out.
No injuries were reported.
Some residents tell News 12 that they saw some kids running away from the building when the fire started, but this has not been confirmed by officials.

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