The Howl

The Not-So-False Alarm

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The Not-So-False Alarm

The Norman Fire Department responded to the alarm Tuesday.

The Norman Fire Department responded to the alarm Tuesday.

The Norman Fire Department responded to the alarm Tuesday.

The Norman Fire Department responded to the alarm Tuesday.

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The fire alarm went off several times at Norman North on Tuesday, March 5, due to a burst water pipe, causing a massive evacuation and confusion among students and teachers.

At approximately 2:20 PM Tuesday afternoon (with the temperature hovering around 40° and a steady breeze from the north at 10 mph) marked the first time the fire alarm went off, which was apparently caused by a burst water pipe. When asked, Sgt. Monson, one of the safety officers at North, confirmed this fact for The Howl.

| Zac Reagan
NPD easily stops the leak.

“From what I understand the water pipe burst,” he explained, “which set off the sensors for the fire alarm and everyone evacuated the building.”

Office staff announced over the intercom that this was not a drill and that everyone should evacuate accordingly. When everyone was outside, there were many confused faces as the Norman Fire Department and the safety officers at North could be seen trying to deal with the situation.

| Zac Reagan
One of the many fire doors inside the school.

While students waited outside, rumors of a fire in the school began to spread, with such stories as “seeable smoke in the halls,” and “the sprinkler system going off in the College and Career Center” being circulated in the parking lot. As students soon found out, no such story was true.

It took about 10 minutes for the “all-clear” to be given to students and teachers to start filing back inside.

Students talking and waiting for the "all clear" to be given.

| Zac Reagan
Students talking and waiting for the “all-clear” to be given.

In light of the incident, principal Dr. Peter Liesenfeld had some commending words to say about how the fire drill was handled by both students and staff, calling it “smooth,” “efficient,” and “like a well-oiled machine.”

“The alarms went off [and] students were immediately escorted outside while we assessed what was going on,” Dr. Liesenfeld said when asked to elaborate. “Fire crews came on scene and I think within two to three minutes determined what the issue was, and we were allowed to release back into school.”

| Zac Reagan
Asst principal Ms. Ann Blatt supervises the fire department’s efforts.

While the fire alarms went off several more times, there was only one real alarm, with the other two resulting from an error with the fire doors.

“When we’re resetting the panels and the fire doors that come in, sometimes when you reset them, it trips [the alarm] again,” Liesenfeld said. “I think when the fire doors close it trips something else, so you’ve got multiple things at the same [to reset].”

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