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Crews investigating suspicious fire at abandoned historical building

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A building that has been abandoned for years, and earned its place on the historical registry was the scene of a suspicious fire early Thursday morning.

The old Page Woodson High School near NE 6th and Stonewall was supposed to be redeveloped into low income apartments, but neighbors said the empty space continues to get broken into and vandalized.

"I'm going to speak out as long as there's breath in my body to secure the area and make it safe and livable for families," said Dianne McDaniel.

McDaniel has lived in this northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood for more than 30 years.

"The neighbors in the area have been watching people go in and out of the facility," said McDaniel.

Around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, fire crews raced to the old Page Woodson High School.

"We had some fire on the second floor and it was in two separate rooms on the second floor, we believe it was an intentionally set fire," said District Chief Benny Fulkerson, Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Luckily, there's not much damage.

Fire officials say the fire burned some books and trash inside the building.

McDaniel says she has a message for whoever is responsible.

"I want to tell them knock it off, because this is a part of history, not just African American history, this is Oklahoma history," said McDaniel.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in the early 1900's, it was recently purchased by a developer, with the hope to turn it into an apartment complex.

"The neighbors were eager to have this place renovated and refurbished so we could be as proud as Devon Tower on the East side, this was going to be our bright and shiny star," said McDaniel.

She's begging for someone to step up and protect the historic gem, hoping to feel a sense of community.

McDaniel said she and her neighbors have been emailing and calling the developer, begging him to add security to the building.

 

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