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Rash of fire alarms hit local schools

The last couple weeks have brought a few minor fires to Forest Grove School District schools.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue personnel responded to a report of a fire at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School. It turned out that an overheated popcorn popper started smoking in the west building, setting off alarms. There was no damage to the building.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, Jan. 26, a dirty air duct in Tom McCall’s east building caused a smoke detector to go off, according to FGSD Chief of Staff Connie Potter. On Thursday, Jan. 28, a ball hit a fire alarm and caused it to go off.

And on Monday, Feb. 1, Fern Hill Elementary students were evacuated after a small fire started in the paper towel holder in the boys bathroom. Students were relocated to Neil Armstrong Middle School and returned to Fern Hill about an hour later, Potter said. A staff member extinguished the fire with an extinguisher, and school sprinklers also helped.

FGF&R tried to reduce water damage from the sprinklers and blew smoke out of the building. “A student had started the fire, which burned a paper towel dispenser and melted a garbage can that sat below it,” read a post on the agency’s Facebook page. “All too often we respond to incidents similar to this where a student brings a lighter or matches to school and misuses them.”