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Accidental fire alarm leaves students confused

Fire trucks arrived at Tiger Drive as students evacuated the building. Photo by Jackie Gong

by Jonathan Cohen
An unplanned fire drill last Monday during D-block caused by unusual circumstances left students and administrators wondering why they had to evacuate.
The fire alarm was set off by accident, when a student leaned against the alarm, and accidently set it off.
At that exact moment, on the other side of the fourth floor science teacher Brian Gagne’s chemistry class thought that they had caused the alarm, according to Dean of the Beals House, Scott Heslin.
The students were conducting an experiment in which a chemical reaction with melted magnesium, resulted in white sparks shooting out of a crucible. A split second later, the fire alarm went off.
Many students in this class thought they had caused the fire alarm.
Sophomore Christian Negrotti, a student in the class, said, “My partner Kenny Schecter and I started blowing on the magnesium after we burned it, and then it just reacted and blew up.”
After an investigation into the cause of the alarm, the Newton Fire Department said the alarm that was activated was not near the chemistry class in room 458 that believed that they had set it off.
“It was a total coincidence,” said Heslin. “We checked the fire alarm in [Gagne’s] class room, and it was never activated. There was a fire alarm, all the way on the other side of the building, that was activated.”
Gagne said, “We have had problems with this lab in the past, however, it was good to find out that I didn’t cause the fire alarm to go off this time.” Gagne added that the lab that the students were doing had set off a couple of alarms in the past.
Gagne has not caused a fire alarm to go off in a couple of years, however, he has set off two while teaching at North.

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