Re: Any Jefferson Elementary School Alumni Out There?

02/27/09 - posted by Jo Anne Q.

Me again...I noted Gloria's post in 2007, where she mentioned the Jefferson school fire. Sitton addressed this in another thread recently.

I did some research on this for an article I wrote a few months ago for my SC Class of 60 newsletter. Found some good photos in the SF Library collection, which include pictures of the exterior and interior damage, students being evacuated, and shots of the perpetrator. The fire was started by a 12 year old named Magid Bateh in 1959. He was worried that he had done poorly on a spelling test and tried to get rid of it. (Perhaps Young Mr. Bateh was not so much an arsonist in the making, but rather an overachiever?)

While working on the article, I googled his name, and lo and behold, there was a Magid Bateh listed - still living in SF and 61 years old. It has to be the same guy, as his name is quite unusual (Lebanese origin). Made me hope he had gone on to a happier and more productive life...

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