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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

FHNtoday.com

The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.
The Collector Store

FHNtoday.com

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Feb. 9 Electrical Fire Scare Causes Impromptu Fire Drill

Students+socialize+and+play+games+on+their+phone+to+pass+time+during+the+fire+drill.
Credit to Kylie Taliaferro
Students socialize and play games on their phone to pass time during the fire drill.

At around 7:55 AM on Feb. 9, 2024, fire alarms sounded throughout FHN. It didn’t take long for students to realize that this wasn’t a drill, as emergency vehicles arrived and maintenance trucks soon began pulling into the main entrance. Students were kept outside for roughly 40 minutes, and then sent back inside. Second hour was missed completely, and four teachers had to move classes to other rooms.
Dr. Blankenship is the principal in charge of emergency procedures at FHN. He reported that a part on a water heater in room 138 was the cause for the alarm. According to Blankenship, this didn’t come as a surprise.

“We’ve been having some electrical issues in that hallway back there for the last week,” Blankenship said. “Multiple electricians have been back there trying to figure out what the culprit is. What we finally figured out today, after the fact actually, is that there’s a part on a water heater that’s clearly electrical. But I think that that part itself then caused a surge in some other things. It caused some other things to trip into all the things. But that part itself, I think, caused enough smoke to set off the alarms.”

Blankenship states that even the classroom to which the closet containing the water heater was unbeknownst to the smoke. Everyone was able to properly follow fire drill procedures and evacuate the building prior to the closet being investigated.

“Honestly even when Miss Beverages class left that room, they didn’t even realize there was an issue,” Blankenship said. “We have a fire panel in here that lets us know where where in the building is something happening that caused [the alarm] to go off. It indicated to us that the electrical panel and all that area in 138 is where the issue was. They just opened the [panel] door and then smoke kind of came out and filled Beverages classroom with smoke.”

Many staff and students believed that school should of been called off for the remainder of the school day due to safety concerns. Blankenship went on to reject those contentions that school should’ve been dismissed.

“In my opinion—I’m sure there students that would disagree with this—but having four teachers displaced for a little while is not a large enough interruption to all the other things to need to cancel school,” Blankenship said.

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