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  1. #1
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    Default Arson fires in High School, no fd notified, students not evacuated!

    Wednesday, May 14 6:00pm
    By Bob Reynolds
    Firefighters seek answers at school where fires were set in restrooms

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    Firefighters in Wyoming County are upset. There's been four arson fires at the Tunkhannock Area High School since last Friday. Today, they were there looking for answers. All of the fires were small, but came to a big surprise to parents and students, and most of all the volunteer firefighters at the Triton Hose Company.
    Assistant Chief Robert Killian says the school notified other officials but did not contact the fire company, which is just minutes away. The heads of the Triton Hose Company, like many parents, say they found out about the fires while watching Newswatch 16 Tuesday evening.

    Chief Paul Schaffer says he's very concerned that the school never called the company for help. Wednesday, some of the volunteers sought out the superintendent of schools at Tunkhannock, looking for an explanation.

    When Newswatch 16 asked Superintendent Steve Moyer why he never contacted the Triton Hose Company, he told us, "we did not follow the procedure which he would recommend". He says someone should have pulled the alarm and evacuated the building immediately.

    Students were 'not' evacuated when the restroom fires broke out last week and early this week. And all the fires happened in a restroom and were contained.


    School officials say their mistakes will not be repeated.


    http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=1278781


    Just wondering what other departments procedures are for fires in occupied schools. How would this have been handled (the fires originally) as well as the backlash against the administration?


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    In NJ, there is a ststute (not always followed) that makes it mandatory for a school to notify PD/FD when there is a fire. Theremust not be the same law in PA.

    Firesetting, especially in NJ, is escalating behavior. This WILL get worse.

    Remember, nothing ever got solved standing on the curb outside the fire yelling at each other. The school, the PD and the FD need to sit down calmly, and not come out until they have reached an agreement on this issue.

  3. #3
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    There must not be the same law in PA.
    When it comes to fire and fire departments, there is really no law, standard, precedent, procedure, guideline, fill-in-the-blank, that anyone has to follow. We got to AFAs all the time in hotels, hospitals, restaurants, nursing homes, high-rise apartment buildings, etc. and the building is not evacuated. The biggest problem is the hotels. The first thing they do when an alarm comes in is silence it - then they go find out what the problem is. There have been several instances where they've almost gotten burned. One of these times, I am afraid it will be tragic. There have been two fairly recent instances (that I can remember) where there was an incipient stage fire, yet the alarm was not pulled, and the building was not evacuated. Nothing has been done about it.

    Even worse, in a high-school boarding house, the Christmas tree in the common area went up. They got the fire out, tried to evacuate the smoke, then finally called the FD THE NEXT MORNING because they woke up and the common area and hallways were still charged with smoke. Figure that one out.

    Stay Safe

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    PAvolunteer, we also have a similar situation regarding a "Bed & Breakfast" (read extremely POSH Hotel and Restruant), that is a frequent false auto alarm for us. Usually a sensor is set off due to heat and humidity in some of the minorettes that decorate the exterior.

    However, in all cases and this includes middle of the night alarms, I have never seen the staff even attempt to evacuate the buildings, and yes there are three buildings in total.

    Ya gotta wonder about places like this, where some of the visitors are high rollers like Bill Gates who has been known to "fly in" for the weekend.
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    Before starting my paid fire service career, I spent two years as a high school teacher. (I was on a volunteer department in another town and taught fire training classes in the evening) Fires in our building were numerous and the fire department was rarely called. On one occasion, a couple of students ran into my study hall to report a fire in the restroom across the hall. When I stepped into the hallway, I observed flames shooting out of the restroom door and across the ceiling of the hallway. I grabbed an APW extinguisher and sent one student to the office to report the situation and another to pull the nearest fire alarm. I was able to knock down the fire with one APW and extinguish it with a second. Later that afternoon, I was called down to the Head Principal's office. At that time I received a reprimand for "disrupting" school by having a student pull the fire alarm. I left the teaching profession later that year and accepted a position with a paid department.

    Note: The Head Principal was fired several years later for "gross incompetence." The district was lucky he didn't get someone killed.
    Last edited by HM604OH; 05-15-2003 at 10:47 AM.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HM604OH
    At that time I received a reprimand for "disrupting" school by having a student pull the fire alarm.

    Note: The Head Principal was fired several years later for "gross incompetence." The district was lucky he didn't get someone killed.


    Are we the only town that has schools with automatic fire alarm that actually call the fire dept? We've had people light fires in school bathrooms and it always activates the alarm. Students and staff immidiately evacuate upon hearing the alarm. The alarm notifies dispatch and the fire dept is automaticly placed en-route.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Thumbs down What a MESS............

    I find myself agreeing with George again. Who is the idiot who allows this to continue in........ Never mind. The answer just hit me. I'll bet this is a Township thing. Typical Pennsylvania. Maryland does not have problems like this. First, the law leaves no room for questions, If there is a fire OR A CONDITION THAT INDICATES A FIRE, such as "The odor of smoke" Etc. The FIRST person (Adult) learning of this condition existing in any structure that is part of said school, SHALL make notification to the Fire Department immediately. One Maryland County canned a Vice principal for not calling 911 after being notified of an electrical fire in a portable classroom. There is no choice here. You MUST call 911 or else face severe disciplanary action. Rules dealing with Life safety in schools are formulated by the Fire Department, not the school officials. All school systems in Maryland are County systems, no towns, cities (Except Baltimore) or other interests are involved here. Stay Safe....
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    I don't know about all of the School's in my area YET! But I do know that last week we had an alarm from one of the elementary schools. It turned out to be the Flow alarm in the sprinkler system went off do to a change in the Water Pressure of the Main Line going into the school.

    Now this was at about 5:00 so the school was not in session, but there must have been some after school activities going on, because there where a few kids around, but they did not evacuate the building. My Assumption is that it was an isolated alarm in the system, and that it did not set off the main Fire Alarm that would have caused an evacuation of the school. Infact I do not believe that anyone at the school was aware that the alarm went off, I think that it was pickup up by the alarm company or dispatch.

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    Our schools are directly lined to an alarm system with private 24/7 monitoring.We had an alarm very similar to this last year and the school officials handled it very well. The school was evacuated in under two minutes.The fire,in a plasitc waste basket was out when we arrived on scene. A lot of smoke and some soot,but no one worse for the wear. We evacuated the smoke and did an investigation along with the SP juvinlie aide officer. We also pointed out that there were supposed to be metal waste baskets in the building. I checked back the next day, and the change had been made.

    Even if our trucks get cancelled in route, one engine or an officer still proceeds to the school to check the situation out.

    Part of our success story with the school district is that we do not only appear there on fire prevention week, but are at the school and in contact with district officials on a regular basis.A open line of communication exists. We have pre-planned with the schools for various situations, and held live drills during the school days. The district is included in our IC and understand their and our roles.

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    Hello,

    In New York State, Believe it or not schools are the only building required to evacuate during a fire alarm and the fire alarm systems are required to be connected to notify the fire department(with very few execptions). Just yesterday we had a student set fire to a pile of books in a classroom at the end of the school day and the school staff pulled the alarm and we were notified and responded. The New York state education department requires that there be several fire drills held (not sure what the exact number is) and for the school staff to cooperate with the fire service. So does the board of education in our town. The school can not cancel an alarm once it is transmitted to us; they will usually call and give us a heads up of what they think it is. And as a matter of fact they will not permit staff or student to reenter the building until the officer in charge gives an all clear.

    Gary

  11. #11
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    Ed..... I though most states are that way. I know that Virginia is and so is Florida to my knowledge. To neglect calling or delay calling the Fire Department is absurd. You are talking hundreds of lives in danger.... The night club in R.I is a prime example of how quickly something simple can go wrong. One could argue that it was not a school (true) and there certainly was not an alarm system (true) but the lack of concern for a fire very quickly led to the death of over 100 people. This same scenario could develope rather easily in a School setting.
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    This whole deal smells rotten. I wouldn't cut the guys much slack for risking my kid's life. Several years ago, I used to work for a certain university as their fire marshal. You would be amazed at how many small fires we had due to mischief makers. Mostly it was stupid stunts like lighting a roll of toilet paper on fire and tossing it out the window, etc.
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    Not that many years ago, we had another alarm call at our elementary school. It and the high school both have auto alarms that go direct to PD and have FD dispatched. At time of this call, alarms would trip once or twice a week, always led to response and building evacuation by the teachers/staff. This one time, first arriving FD officer notices smoke showing. Ends up the "everyday BS alarm" was due to a fire in the attic space above my nieces classroom, while she was sitting there.

    Do we like responding to many false alarms? Nope.
    Do we continue to respond to alarms at the schools? Yup.
    Do we think an actual emergency outweighs the inconvenience of false alarms? Yup.

    Better to be safe...


    Now, only if we can get the hotels/motels to evacuate when they have fires.
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    our school has a newly installed system like that but all we have is heat detectors no smoke detectors so even if a fire started the pretty much the whole school would have to go up before the detector system went off. luckly the pull boxes are also in that system.
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    Originally posted by firefighterox
    our school has a newly installed system like that but all we have is heat detectors no smoke detectors so even if a fire started the pretty much the whole school would have to go up before the detector system went off. luckly the pull boxes are also in that system.
    Hey genius. Do me a favor and do some research and then come back here with a retraction on this ridiculous statement. Do you know how a heat detector works? Do you know what temperature it activates? Do you know what fire conditions would be required to cause the detector to activate? Please, dear God, tell me you are a Jr. and you have no idea what you are talking about.

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    im still in high school but last year we had a fire in a bathroom and we WERE NOT evacuate from the school but the FD was called and one of our fire police officers works in the same building and i think it was him that call the FD. i was ****ed the next day to find out we had a fire and werent evacuated from school. i also dont get it with my school how we could get a note saying there is a "bomb" in the building and evacuate but when theres a fire we dont evacuate.i think i have morons running my school!!!

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Morons running the school??

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    Originally posted by Quigger
    im still in high school but last year we had a fire in a bathroom and we WERE NOT evacuate from the school but the FD was called and one of our fire police officers works in the same building and i think it was him that call the FD. i was ****ed the next day to find out we had a fire and werent evacuated from school. i also dont get it with my school how we could get a note saying there is a "bomb" in the building and evacuate but when theres a fire we dont evacuate.i think i have morons running my school!!!
    At least in the English Department.

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking

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    im not the greatest in english

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