Small fire breaks out on Bancroft property

Damage contained, but cause and suspects still unknown.

The parcel of land on which the Bancroft School once stood was long a source of pride for locals, featuring historic Lullworth Hall and verdant woods. 

But the longer a property remains unused or abandoned, the greater the chance that misfortune will befall it, through either the ravages of time, the constant effects of weather or through criminal mischief.

It appears the latter was the case on the evening of Sept. 17, when local fire and police responded to reports of a fire which broke out in one of the buildings on the parcel.

According to Haddonfield Police Chief Jason Cutler, borough police as well as Haddon Fire Company No. 1 and Cherry Hill Fire Department personnel responded to a rubbish fire in a back room within Bancroft Hall about 6;15 p.m.

The fire, which was initially spotted by a passerby, was contained to the room where it started, and was quickly extinguished. Fire and law enforcement personnel remained on scene for a short time after.

Regarding the cause of the minor blaze, borough officials ruled out both weather and natural occurrences. Cutler added that the location of the fire led police to believe it was either accidentally or purposefully set. 

This marks the second time in 2021 which the Bancroft property made news. In early January, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection informed the borough that it discovered an oil leak emanating from an underground oil tank whose contents were once used to heat school buildings on campus. 

Stay with the Sun as the story continues to develop.