Fire Alarm Mishap


A senior “cookout” contributed to fire alarms sounding during NESA Science testing. The Fire Department responded, and students were evacuated in the middle of the state test. No injuries were reported.

by Makenna Hrabik

It was just a normal day of NESA testing until the blaring noise of the fire alarms stopped the progress of the first wave of NESA testers early in the morning of April 16. The uncompleted tests were paused by the students who were not finished as they were ordered to leave the building, just like with any other fire drill. But what the students did not know was this was not a drill. Students instantly suspected that it was a real alarm because the school wouldn’t be expected to perform a fire drill during a state exam.

“We assumed it was a real evacuation since it was interrupting testing,” junior Megan Willms said. She said she  was testing when the alarms sounded.

As all the students stood outside in the cold and windy weather conditions, the fire trucks quickly pulled up to the school. The firefighters bolted inside without hesitation in order to find the cause of the alarms. Although Principal Dan Radica had found that the cause of the fire was the excess smoke and heat from a burnt hotdog, state and federal regulations require that the school be evacuated and the professionals must respond and identify the cause of the alarms for safety purposes.

Once they had figured out the primary cause of the alarms going off, another alarm went off shortly after while the students were still being evacuated. Radicia and the firefighters soon figured out that a smoke alarm near the restrooms by the band room had an electrical problem that caused it to misfire.

“The misfire of the second alarm wouldn’t silence due to complications and kept us from going inside,” Radicia, said.

Luckily for Radicia and the juniors who had been testing, only eight out of the 85 students participating in the test were not finished. Thankfully for these eight students, they were able to pause the test and finish it after the fire drill. Throughout this whole process, no students lost any previous progress, and the drill was not detrimental to the NESA scores according to Radicia.