By Lorin Enns
Following several minutes of the fire alarm sounding, students turned their heads toward the intercom during first period Wednesday morning as Mrs. Gilbert, assistant principal, announced that students and teachers should stay in their classrooms. Originally thought to be a false alarm, Gilbert returned to the intercom several minutes later, announcing a problem with the piping in the school and ordering students to evacuate.
“It was a situation that went from just being a fire drill to becoming an actual problem, something that hasn’t happened in our high school before,” Josh Rabe, senior, said. “ I feel like the students were not as well informed about the situation as they should’ve been; however, the school did do a good job of making sure all the students were away from the area.”
The alarm sounded at about 8:30 a.m. and continued to ring for over an hour. Students, originally sent to their assigned fire drill positions in the parking lot, moved to the football stadium as administration and the Henderson Fire Dept. worked to assess the progressing situation. Because the alarm continued to sound, students and teachers questioned whether they would be sent home for the day. The only person with the authority to cancel school is the CCSD superintendent, Dr. Jesus Jara. After assessing the problem, Principal Piccininni called a maintenance technician from CCSD, who shut off the fire alarm at 9:37 a.m.
“We have a fire panel that tells us exactly which alarm goes off, and what the situation is, [for example] if there was smoke in the boys’ bathroom, or there was a water leak somewhere,” Mrs. Gilbert said. “It was telling us that there was a water leak in the boiler room where the heating comes from. Any time there’s a water system alarm, it won’t allow us to silence it. We had to have a tech from CCSD to come to the school to silence the alarm.”
After getting the “all-clear,” teachers and staff released students from the bleachers by section to return to their first period classes for attendance and to collect their things. The fire alarm sounded once again at 10:16 a.m., this time only lasting one minute after students had gone to third period. Mr. Kalinowski, dean of students, went on the intercom to apologize again for the false alarm.
“I thought the administration was going to send us home, but they were able to fix the problem apparently,” Michael Tokos, junior, said. “It was something I never really expected to happen, but hopefully the problem gets resolved.”