False Alarm Triggers End of Day Evacuation

Students and staff exited the building after the alarm went off during 7th period classes

High school fire alarms sounded shortly before dismissal Thursday afternoon, causing an unplanned evacuation.

No fire took place, according to Executive Director of Communications Scott Stephens. “The fire alarm was not pulled,” Principal Eric Juli said. “I do know which specific alarm went off,” but Juli would not say which one. Administration has not confirmed the cause of the alarm. 

The Shaker Heights Fire Department arrived shortly after the alarm sounded Sept. 23, and followed procedures to verify the building’s safety before students and staff were allowed to enter. “The fire department always comes to investigate when an alarm goes off,” Stephens wrote. 

After-school activities proceeded as normal after the fire department gave the all clear to enter the building. Students who brought their belongings with them when they exited were allowed to leave at 3:15 p.m., while those who left them inside waited to retrieve them.

The communications department emailed parents and students while the fire department was inspecting the building. Juli also copied all students and faculty on his response to a student’s email, which asked if there was a fire. “All is well,” he stated.

Senior Lydia Vadnal was in physics class at the time, working on a take-home test. “I think that there was a lot of confusion,” Vadnal said. “It was kind of a big disruption, especially because it was towards the end of the day and everyone kinda just wanted to go home at that point.”

Junior Destiny Battle was in a biology class. She was working with classmates on a group project, and said that her work was not really disrupted, since it was so close to the end of the class. “I was just cold, so I was upset that we were outside,” Battle said.

In 2017, a similar incident took place after a smoke detector in a basement office malfunctioned at 3:00 p.m. Last year, the high school cancelled classes for a day after smoke from wood which was left on a kiln set off the alarms early in the morning.

Research Chief Daniel Tcheurekdjian contributed to reporting.

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