Overnight blaze severely damages old Hope gymnasium

Firefighters from multiple Bartholomew County fire departments battled a blaze in the old gym in Hope last night.

Bartholomew County dispatchers say the first calls about the fire came in at about 9:37 p.m. last night after a passerby noticed flickering lights in the old gym in the 500 block of Washington Street. The Hope Volunteer Fire Department was the first called to the scene.

Hope Deputy Chief Adam Mathis:

Mathis said that firefighters withdrew from the building as fire spread into the roof and began attacking the fire with aerial trucks. Eventually the burning roof collapsed on the north side of the structure. He estimated the building as a total loss.

The neighboring Community Center of Hope was undamaged and no one was injured.

Hope firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Hartsville, Clifford, Flat Rock and the city of Columbus. Also assisting at the scene were the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and Hope Police Department and Hope Utilities.

The last firefighters left the scene at about 3:22 a.m. this morning according to dispatchers.

The cause of the fire has not been identified. Mathis said the Bartholomew County Fire inspector and State Fire Marshall have been contacted to investigate the blaze.

The gym was built during the Great Depression by the Conservation Corps as part of the old Hope Town School and is owned today by the Community Center. Efforts have been underway to restore the aging building.

Photos courtesy of Hope Volunteer Fire Department