The former Ensley High School, located at 2301 Avenue J in Ensley, was severely damaged when it caught fire this morning. According to various news reports approximately 50 city of Birmingham firefighters fought the fire.
Bham Now was on the scene. Below, on Facebook Live we interviewed two alums who rushed to the scene.
The old Ensley High School was built in 1908. It closed after the 2005-2006 school year, with students transferring to the new Jackson-Olin High School.
The high school’s three-story 184,456-square foot building was designed by architect David O. Whilldin and occupied an 8-acre site with athletic fields and parking lots.
Ensley High School was founded in 1901 to serve the then-independent community of Ensley, which was centered around major plants operated by U. S. Steel and the American Cast Iron Pipe Company.
From Bhamwiki, the school was absorbed into the Birmingham School System when Ensley was annexed into the city in 1910. For most of its life, Ensley was, along with Phillips, Ramsay, Woodlawn, and West End, one of Birmingham’s “Big Five” high schools with notable academic and athletic traditions and rivalries.
Notable alumni include: Alabama football great Cornelius Bennett, Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos and State Senator Jabo Waggoner.
Bham Now will be following this developing story. Below are photos taken by Bham Now at 7:00am. We have also embedded a video by WIAT CBS 42 showing the fire at its initial stage.
FORMER ENSLEY HS FIRE: Approx. 50 firefighters on Ave. J. This building has been vacant several years. Cause unknown. Too dangerous for firefighters to go inside. Alumni are heartbroken & say they were supposed to have their first alumni picnic here in September. @CBS_42 pic.twitter.com/FOEa1FHmZr
— Ariana Garza (@GarzaCBS42) July 17, 2018