Fueling the fire


Jennifer Fowler, Editor-in-chief

By Jennifer Fowler


evacuation copyFebruary 21st was a chilly Friday in Florissant, the school day starting with a powerless McCluer North, and the sudden evacuation of 1,700 students from the building. Florissant Police cars dotted the parking lot, in response to a bomb threat posed from an unknown source. This added to chaos as the building was experiencing power outages from the night before, due to strong wind surges, and recovering from a fire caused by the school’s generator.

“It’s definitely been a challenging day not for me, but for everyone,” Dr. Hopper assured. “I’m sure the students and staff are just as frustrated as me.”

The disarray began the day before, around 4 p.m. when heavy winds caused a power outage at North. The back-up generator kicked in, but burning oil eventually set off a fire. The fire prompted the cancellation of all after school activities, including the school play, Little Shop of Horrors.

According to Hopper, power did not return until about 4:30 a.m., but there were still some deficiencies in the building.

“When I arrived, there were still about 18 dark classrooms. All of our computers and phones were down. We were without bells and intercoms. Working in a world where technology is so interconnected, but not working, is difficult.”

To add fuel to the fire that morning, Florissant Police  received a call pertaining to a bomb threat, in which there was a search where students were held in parking lots for 30 minutes.

Nevertheless, the school was fine and utility officials reassured the restoration of power, which was fully restored at about 10 a.m., being such an overload it caused the fire alarms to go off overhead.

Hopper admits the day was troublesome, but it isn’t a one person job.

“Our staff definitely helped out and stepped up,” he said. “They deserve a huge round of applause.”

One staff member who wanted to make the best of the day was math teacher Ms. King. She and fellow math teacher Ms. Biggs conjoined advisements to race for donuts the next week.

“We have no power, so we wanted to do something exciting and fun to spice advisement up,” said King, who was without the aid of announcements or smartboards that Friday.

With some classes held in the cafeteria, and teachers patrolling the hallways, the day didn’t go as planned, but ran smoothly enough to make it to 1:15.

“Like anything in life, we just had to make to best out of our situation,” Hopper said.


Thursday 2/20

3:30 p.m.: the thunderstorm begins

4:30 p.m.: the power goes out

4:50 p.m.: backup generator catches on fire

5:00 p.m.: firefighters arrive

Friday 2/21

4:00 a.m. : 80% of electricity is restored. There are still no internet access, no computer access, and no access to the intercom system or telephones.

6:34 a.m. : An anonymous caller calls Florissant police in worry of a possible bomb threat.

6:40 a.m.: Florissant police arrive and students are evacuated from the school.

7:00 a.m.: Students arrive to school.

7:30 a.m.: Students re-enter the building.

10:00 a.m.: Power is restored to all parts of the building.

10:02 a.m.: The fire alarm sounds.

10:04 a.m.: A second fire alarm sounds.

10:06 a.m. : Everything goes back to normal.