Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fire Alarm With A Twist

This afternoon at the school we had a fire alarm with a twist. The little twist was that there actually was a fire of sorts. Recess had just ended and I was doing some paper work for a class I teach when the alarm went off. I thought nothing of it at first, until the lights went out just as I was exiting the classroom. Outside I didn't see anything out of the ordinary although a colleague mentioned smelling something burning down around the office area. But I didn't see any obvious signs of fire.

Shortly after I saw a small group of students running around the side of the school toward the back. Perhaps something was up, I thought. So I followed them to see if there was anything untoward going on. Normally when I don't have students under my care, as was the case at that exact moment, I try to make myself useful by helping out with the younger students. So that's what I decided to do. Reaching the back of school I still didn't notice any danger although a side door, leading into the hallway where the wood shop is located, was wide open.

There was no sign of smoke and then a bell sounded giving the all clear. It wasn't until I was back into the high school hallway that I noticed a distinct odour...a fire extinguisher smell. In the main hall I noticed the door leading down the stairs to the wood shop was closed. So something had happened. I was about to return back down the hall when curiosity overcame me. I headed downstairs to the shop for a peek. Turns out a spark from a grinder had ignited some saw dust and a piece of wood. The small amount of smoke and the fire extinguisher that a staff member had grabbed to put the fire out had triggered the fire alarm.

I have been in a situation 5-6 years ago where there was quite a serious fire at a school I was working in and its not an experience I would wish on anyone when you have a building with 500 students evacuating. Needless to say, it was a relief that there was no damage and no injuries as a result. Whew! I can now return to my regularly scheduled day.