Bath school disaster remembered, 90 years later

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BATH TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (05/18/17) - The cupola is all that remains where the school once stood in Bath Township.

But over the past 9 decades, community members have also gathered photos, newspaper articles and other relics, to create a museum of all that was lost that day. A day etched in their history that they'll never forget.

"It was very hard, it was kind of jaw-dropping and shocking to hear it. I just listened intently," explained Michelle Allen.

She says she grew up hearing stories about the bombing at Bath Consolidated School, but never knew her father's until he was 80-years-old.

And it was actually a story from his teacher that helped him escape death that day.

"The teacher had pulled the children to the back of the classroom to hear stories. And they asked for a second story and she thought well school is almost over, it was right at the end of the school year and she said okay," Allen explained.

The explosion went off just minutes later. The result of hundreds of pounds of explosives set in the school basement by disgruntled school board member Andrew Kehoe.

"It was horrible," Susan Hagerman said.

Three of Hagerman's family members are part of the 60 injured at the school that day, including her father who was buried alive under the rubble.

"It was just always there. Loud noises would upset him, he couldn't hear loud noises without getting shook up and anytime anybody would talk about it, he would cry," she said.

Hagerman and Allen now have that same emotion thinking of the countless school tragedies that have happened over the last 9 decades.

"It just brings a lot of memories back and having family, I know what the other families are going through," Hagerman said.

"Oh it's terrible," Allen added. "We sent a letter to Sandy Hook, we just felt so deeply for them and others that have happened."

Allen tells us family members of the man behind the attack have actually reached out to them over the years.

She says it's clear the bombing was just one man's revenge.

(05/17/17) - Thursday marks 90 years since the devastating Bath school disaster, which remains the deadliest mass murder to take place at a school in U.S. history.

The explosion on May 18, 1927 killed 38 children and 6 adults.

It all happened at the hands of Andrew Kehoe, a farmer and school board member.

He set off a massive explosion, sending the walls of the Bath Consolidated School, crumbing down.

His anger was believed to be fueled by a property tax increase to fund the construction of the new school.

Kehoe, who also died that day, plotted the attack for weeks.

Nearly 60 people survived the explosions.

Thursday, ceremonies are planned in Clinton County's Bath Township to honor the lives lost at the site of the former school.

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