The Fire At Briar

The Fire At Briar

Ryan Peele, Reporter

We’d like to think that in our darkest hour we would act. That in the case of a dire emergency, threatening the safety, well-being, even the lives of everyone around us, we would do the right thing and not panic. Last Wednesday, on the first day of June, many Briar students were confronted with that perilous scenario. 

Before the attendance bell even rang, just as students began to settle down in their seats, ready to listen to their teacher outline the lesson plan, or simply start their warm-ups, the fire alarm began blaring. The deafening klaxons came to the surprise of students, who hadn’t heard rumors of a fire drill and certainly weren’t expecting one at such an unusual, inconvenient time. This confusion grew even more when the students realized that the teachers were equally caught off guard by the sudden sirens. Indeed, this was no planned drill. 

“We were getting ready to take notes in math, and, two or three minutes into class the fire alarm went off.” said a student who identified himself as Chet Holmgren, “We headed out and we were like ‘You know what this is not a drill’ because it seemed more disorganized than usual. Though to be fair, it was still pretty orderly [generally speaking].”

Despite the fact that it was clear that there was a genuine emergency, students didn’t panic, and instead calmly exited their classrooms and the school building. Over a decade of monthly fire drills had ensured that students would know how to act during a true crisis. The parking lots around the perimeter of Briar Woods were flooded with kids, more relieved about getting a brief break from school than in fear of a potential destructive fire. 

“We were all just out there. It was kind of hot. People started going in their cars, which was kind of funny,” said Holmgren.

After around 15 minutes of waiting outside and seeing numerous fire trucks arrive at the front of the school, the alarm stopped blaring, and the children who hadn’t already fled in their cars were shepherded back into the building.

Just as students went through the doors of the school, however, the sirens went off yet again. Confused students tried to exit the building, eager to avoid more schoolwork, but also somewhat fearful for their own safety. However, teachers insisted that everything was fine and made students return to their classrooms. 

As soon as the masses began sitting down, administrators started hopping from classroom to classroom, ordering everyone to evacuate the building yet again. Confused students and annoyed teachers left the building, although this time with less fear and urgency. After another five to ten minutes, it was declared safe to reenter the building, and the students and teachers were able to return to class. Surprisingly, there was no third evacuation.

Officially, the alarm went off because some dust particles set off a detector, which automatically triggered the alarm and called the fire department. Still, some students have other theories: “I think that some of those [detectors] were being triggered by the pyrotechnics during the pep rally. I don’t care what they say about dust,” said Holmgren, still clearly skeptical about the administration’s explanation.

Regardless of what you think really happened, students will certainly remember the ‘Fire’ at Briar as a confusing half an hour, but one that, at the very least, got them out of doing classwork.