By JUSTIN YEH
A fire erupted out of a food delivery truck near the end of fourth period on Thursday, Oct. 5.
A SEA OF WILDCATS – Students gather at the baseball fields upon hearing the emergency announcement.
Marty Mendez, a substitute security officer on campus, first detected the fire and proceeded to inform administration. Administrators called the fire department and initiated an evacuation to the field followed by a “shelter-in-place” procedure, where students took shelter in classrooms. After students got lunch, they went to their sixth period to finish the school day.
Administration has not yet been informed about what caused the fire, but vice principal Samuel Sanford believes that the battery controlling a container’s cooling system sparked the fire.
Although the fire caused much disarray, Sanford feels pleased with the way both administrators and students dealt with the situation.
“Everybody was where they were supposed to be, and there was no major misbehavior. The controlled dismissal to lunch [was well-organized] and allowed us to ensure that students did not [wander into unsafe] areas,” Sanford said.
Upon hearing about the fire, drama teacher Kim Weaver focused on getting her students to safety.
“[My first priority was] keeping my students as calm as possible and getting them away from any danger,” Weaver said. “My students immediately saw the fire, so by the time the announcement came, I was already getting the kids out. ”
During an evacuation, teachers in each building have certain exit routes that they are supposed to take, but the fire blocked the route for four of the buildings. As a result, Weaver felt that the evacuation could have been executed better.
SHERIFF ON DUTY – Police close off the danger zone and investigate the cause of the fire.
“We have an evacuation procedure that we have practiced many times, [but it] was not followed. In the future, I think we just need to follow the fire drill that we have set up,” Weaver said.
Freshman Edmond Chu did not enjoy the shelter-in-place procedure because it wasted too much class time.
“I [did not like] skipping my fifth period math class because math is my favorite subject, and missing a class takes away from my learning,” Chu said. “Although I understand that administration needed time to secure the area, the entire process lasted too long.”