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Thread: Fires are commonplace at my school!

  1. #1
    Super Member MistyMarie's Avatar
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    What a year. There have been at least ten fires set this school year at my middle school where I teach. Yesterday I was working in the office on getting a substitute for Friday (to go to a training session) when the dean of students came running in and set off the fire alarm. Everyone had to evacuate the building. Fortunately, it was after school (about 4PM), but I only had my cell phone on me and my laptop. I had no purse, coat, or keys. I ended up sitting in another teacher's car for awhile, then when she left, I sat outside in the COLD for over an hour waiting to be allowed back in to get my keys. Finally I was allowed to get my keys from my classroom because my room was nowhere near the fire.
    There were NINE firetrucks! The fire was set by an arsonist. They were very creative in how they set it and it took four hours for the firemen to find out where the smoke was originating. (Between two brick walls upstairs.) Anyway, the principal decided to still have school today... just moving teachers to another part of the building unaffected by the smoke and fire. He didn't want the arsonist to think that they were successful in shutting down the school. They had to hire guards to secure the building since the doors had to be left open to help remove the smoke and two of the custodians stayed all night cleaning what they could so school could open this morning.
    Spending two hours outside without a coat yesterday did not do any good for my cold. I feel absolutely miserable today. I cannot feel too bad though. My principal was there until eleven and then returned at three this morning. He sounded like crude this morning.
    I sure hope they catch the kid or kids who keep setting these fires. It is getting really old. One of these times, they are going to burn the school down!

  2. #2
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I hope they catch ther person(s) responsible before someone gets seriously hurt ! They don't realize the expense of the fires not to just the building , but as you said extra security and repairs, the man power of the fire department . Makes you wonder what they are thinking

  3. #3
    Super Member Sheila Elaine's Avatar
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    This is very dangerous & someone(s) will be trapped one of these times. Stay safe.

  4. #4
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    As I live in the hills, surrounded by forests and reserves in one of the most arid countries on the planet, arsonists are our worst nightmare. I think the penalties here are being revisited, mainly because of the potential for huge losses of property and life. As you may have seen on international news footage...we have had some devastating fires over the past 2 years, so very sad to see people lose loved ones and neighbours.

    Hope you feel better soon, and I would be keeping coat/keys etc. close by in case this happens again.

  5. #5
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    That's horrible. So sorry. Hope they get caught before someone gets injured or worse.

  6. #6
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    What is this world coming to?

    Please be careful. Maybe carry a fanny pack.

  7. #7
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Doesn't that just bite - knowing where your stuff is and not being allowed to get it! My ex is a firefighter and always had lots of good reasons, but there's risk management and there's unreasonable. Why didn't you just climb up into the cab of one of those nine trucks and get cozy? ;-)

    Schools burning are not fun. We lost two in very short order where I used to live. When the first one burned, my first thought was "good, all those flies are taken care of", not very gracious. (I had just finished a student teaching practicum in the school and dead flies used to fall out of the light fixtures onto the kids. Gross.) When the second school burned, I had a great view of it out my window and there's a very sick feeling in your stomach when witnessing something like that.

    If you think your school might burn, I strongly suggest that you itemize all your personal items stored at the school. If you have materials you can't replace, take them home. The hardest thing about the schools burning was teachers trying to replace their teaching materials. We had city-wide sharing going on, but you still don't quite recover.

  8. #8
    Super Member MistyMarie's Avatar
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    I have been teaching for fourteen years and this is a first for me. The other fires were all put out by staff. This is the first that required firefighters to come deal with putting out the fire.

    I am all over the building. I cannot imagine having to carry my keys, coat and purse all the time because I have to worry about some delinquent doing this again. I am going to tape a spare key to my vehicle, however. My husband was on his way to get the kids when I got my keys back. My husband is deploying in April, so I won't have that backup if this happens once he leaves.

  9. #9
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I am glad no one was hurt, but what a pain in the butt. Hope they catch the person soon. Some one must not like school very much!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Wear your keys around your neck on a lanyard; it would be worth it to avoid sitting out in the cold again.

    Unfortunately, this sicko will probably do this again at your school or somewhere else until they are caught.

    I am so sorry you had to go through this. You have my sympathy. Teaching (I did it, too) is a very hard job and events like this don't help.

  11. #11
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    No matter where the fire is, it is tragic. It scares me so badly. We had a house fire when I was small and I've seen lots since. I pray for the sickO who puts this fear in people like me who just shivers each time the thought passes our minds. You'll never forget fire. You will just never forget. Glad you have guards, shame it comes to that. Senseless crimes, but you'll catch them and all will end well. Keep the faith and thank the good Lord for TEACHERS.

  12. #12
    Super Member Debra Mc's Avatar
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    There is some nut in East Texas that is burning churches. I think a total of 11 now. They are spread out over our area. SO far none where I live but several in Tyler & the latest in Wills Point, a small town where I lived till the 6th grade. There are some sick SOB's in this world. You can bet it is a kid. Most arsonist are usually young less than 30 years of age.

  13. #13
    Senior Member vjengels's Avatar
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    Wow Misty! Where are you in Colorado? I didn't hear anything on the news about that. Glad you're okay, with that kind of atmosphere, I'd start keeping my stuff on me at all times

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    I work in Risk Mgmt. One suggestion I can give, is take a tote to work, every day when you get there, put your stuff in that tote, then if you have any type of fire/tornado alarms, you can just grab the tote and know that everything personal is inside.

  15. #15
    Marjpf's Avatar
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    So hard to even fathom what cold go through someones head to start a fire. In Southern California, when it's dry, a fire can burn thousands of miles before it can be controlled.
    Is it possible that it is students who are hoping school will be canceled? Not a pretty option, but seems likely to me.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rose Hall's Avatar
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    I, too, work in a middle school and when people ask me how my year is going I tell them I am having a great year--I haven't been assaulted, had a weapon brought into the library, had my family threatened, or had my car windows smashed out (in the school parking lot during the middle of the day). All happened to me last year.
    ugh. please stay safe. can you give a spare set of keys to a neighbor (just in case) after your husband deploys?

    Rose Hall

  17. #17
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    I wouldn't tape a spare key to my car if I were you. Too easy for the kids to find and steal your car. I keep my keys on a lanyard around my neck. I'd try that if I were you. Keep your classroom keys and a spare car and house key on it. Keep a jacket or a quilt in your car just in case. Hopefully they'll find the arsonist or one of the other kids will rat him/her out.

  18. #18
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of leaving anything in my car, not even small change for parking. The lanyard is a great idea. When I was shopping yesterday our local pharmacy had really beautiful bead lanyards for i.d., keys etc.

    Rose, what a horrible lot of things to happen...and we all thought teaching was one of the "gentler" occupations. Not any more it seems.

  19. #19
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Sadly, the days when teaching was one of the "gentler" jobs are gone. Parents today do not teach their children to respect their teachers. Also, some of the folks who have gone into teaching don't deserve the title of teacher and it is always those ones who make the news. I have had, in my career, students threaten to hit me, threaten to kill me, swear at me, run out of the room, throw temper tantrums. Have had parents swear at me, threaten to hit me and threaten to kill me. Fortunately the kids I have now are sweethearts and haven't done any of the above.

  20. #20
    Super Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    I hope the school district invests in some closed circuit cameras. It would be a lot cheaper than replacing the school. Make yourself a little purse that you can carry around your neck with all your important IDs, keys and cell phone. It's too bad and I hope they find the culprit soon before he/she causes major loss of property or lives! Be safe.

  21. #21
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    Wow--that's scary. I'm sorry you had to lose so much time and be cold. I'm glad I'm in the elementary building.

  22. #22
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    MistyMarie -

    Sorry to hear about this happening at your school. I am a retired HS teacher and when I taught we had a series of bomb threats. Once we spent four hours in the hot sun in the football stadium and were dismissed from school directly from there. That time my keys and purse were still in the classroom not and we were allowed back into the building for another 3 hours. After that when the alarm went off I grabbed my purse and coat/sweater.

  23. #23
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    I am so sorry to hear what is happening at your school. I hope you stay safe (and feel better soon)

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