South Carolina community honors 77 people who died in the Cleveland School fire 100 years ago

  • Source: WLTX-TV CBS 19 Columbia
  • Published: 05/18/2023 12:00 AM

VIDEO: On May 17th, 1923, the deadliest fire in the history of South Carolina, the Cleveland School fire, shook the community. The fire was at a small school in Camden, and it led to the state rewriting the state’s fire code laws to prevent such a tragedy from ever taking place again. “She was incoherent and kept repeating, 'I see Jesus, Jesus help me.'" Those are the words Linda Rodgers read from her aunt Clara Wooten's journal about the night of the Cleveland School Fire. "77 people lost their lives, much of which, if you can imagine in 1923 ... There was no fire service out here, so there were no firefighting efforts, so the fire essentially burned until it was done burning,” Camden Fire Chief John Bowers said. Around 41 of the people who died were students.


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