Skip to content

Delta throwback: Fire damaged DSS bargains up for grabs

The fire which gutted a large portion of the high school caused an estimated $700,000 in damage
An auction was held for the high school’s fire damaged but still usable equipment.

Let’s head back to February 1970 to check out an Optimist photo of resident Bill Sheldon contemplating what would be a fair price of fire damaged typewriters, office furniture and equipment from Delta Secondary School.

An auction was held at the school as the board of education tried to cut its losses following an arson fire the previous September.

Described at the time as “a difficult fire to fight” by the fire chief, the incident caused around $700,000 in damage with at least 16 rooms gutted in the school.

Fred Gingell, school board chair, said, “I have never seen such a horrible site inside a school.”

Gingell said the board would undertake reconstruction of the damaged buildings “as soon as possible.”

A group of students would later “kidnap” an historic bell from the local museum and hold it for “ransom” as they demanded community funds to replenish books in the school's library. The successful operation was whimsically referred as “Operation Stopgap”.