Smoke on the Ridge: Part 1


Benjamin Jensen, Columnist

When I was walking to class on the morning of January 25, 2022, The fire alarm rang out, most students froze in place because no one knew what to do. I walked to my class where my teacher, Mrs. Johnson commented on my spirit week outfit. At first, most of the students in my class were sure that it was an accident or a false alarm, but when we heard the announcement to evacuate, we knew it was not a drill… it was real.


As we walked out of the C building all we saw was smoke. We immediately thought this was a real fire, and we were expecting to be out in the cold for a few hours. However, one of my friends said that a kid threw a smoke bomb in the bathroom, which I thought it was a silly rumor because smoke bombs were so 1990’s. 


Half of our class split up by accident and half of us headed to the basketball court (our usual evacuation spot for Evacuation Drills) while the other half went to the football field as instructed by the announcement. At first, I started to question why the entire school was being sent to the field and not their usual spots. Do the evacuation drills that we do every month even matter? Will there be changes to the evacuation procedure? 


In my personal opinion, I believe that the evacuation procedure needs to change. This was our second real evacuation we had this school year, and yet, each evacuation has a slough of problems. 


Students who have followed the usual evacuation protocol may be confused where to go if instructed to go somewhere else. Because of this separation, students may not be able to find their classes on the field, which they can be mistakenly marked as missing. Even worse, the admin couldn’t have told you where anyone was or if everyone was accounted for. 


The half that I was with, followed the usual procedure and proceeded to the basketball court; however, as we waited for our teacher, we were instructed to go to the field. At this point, we did not know where our class was. For the remainder of the procedure, our group searched for our teacher but we could not find her. 


When the announcement came and said that we can return to class, rumors were spreading like wildfire (no pun intended). A majority of the school believed that a smoke bomb caused the alarm to go off. However, other students say that a student had some hair spray and a lighter and made a makeshift flamethrower. 


During our second period, the morning announcements confirmed that the alarm was caused by a smoke bomb and that the teachers were investigating the incident. To me, I was surprised that Media Productions were able to get footage of the smoke, the alarm, edit, and make an announcement quickly. 


The good news for that day was that everyone was safe. However many questions still remain. Will we see a change to the evacuation procedure? Who caused the alarm? Who on earth brings a smoke bomb to school in 2022? And how the heck was Media Productions able to make an announcement about the alarm in just a few minutes?