School evacuates after fire alarm rings after school

By Nolan DeGarlais, News Editor

A fire alarm sounded around 2 p.m. today as after school clubs and activities began on the MTHS campus. Students were directed to evacuate the building onto the fields in front of and behind the school. Staff guided the students to wait on the fields until the building was declared safe to enter at about 2:40 p.m.

Assistant principal Dan Falk pulled the fire alarm after smoke was detected by staff in the main office complex of the school. The cause of this smoke was unknown and the surrounding fire departments, including the Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds Fire Services, promptly showed up to investigate, along with representatives from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department who oversaw the scene.

Assistant principal Peter Schurke sent out an email to staff explaining the situation minutes after the staff resolved the issue with the emergency services conducting the investigation. In the email, Schurke explained that the smoke was a maintenance issue and not an immediate concern for school safety.

“The fire department came and determined that there does not appear to be an active fire. They speculate that it is smoke from a poorly adjusted belt in the HVAC system and have referred the matter to our maintenance department,” Schurke wrote in the email.

The HVAC system refers to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system which services the school throughout the year. The investigation found the issue in the HVAC system could be resolved by the maintenance staff without supervision by the fire department.

After school clubs and activities were able to resume after students were allowed back into the building. In the final part of his email, Schurke expressed his gratitude to the staff for their assistance in evacuating the building and ensuring that the investigation could be conducted.

“Thank you all for your quick responses in assisting us to get the building cleared,” Schurke told staff in the email.