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Fire! Fire!

So yesterday I went to pick up the kids from school. It was my carpool day and I always get there a little early so I can watch the kids as they come out (catch a glimpse of their lives when I'm not around). Well yesterday was interesting.

There I am sitting in the nice warm truck, listening to the radio play Christmas songs, and watching the little Head Start kids as they lined up to go inside after their recess. Just as the poor dears got to their respective places in line the school doors flew open and the entire population of 1st Grader's descended on them. I glanced at my clock... still ten minutes till school got out... and then looked back as the pre-schoolers scrambled back towards a tree at the far end of the playground and the 1st Graders lined up on the outside of the fence. At this point I became curious so I turned off my music, turned down my heater, and rolled down my window. Then I heard it--the sound of the fire alarm.

This amused and annoyed me at the same time. True it was fun to watch the little ones come hurtling out of the school, but it was 20*F outside, a bit cold for practicing fire drills without coats. Now I glanced over to the Kindergarten doors and there they were, all of them spilling out onto the playground. Some half ready to go home with winter boots and snow pants, other's still in their indoor clothes.

I listened as they fire alarm ended and watched as the first graders and pre-schoolers filed back in, but the kindergarteners stayed outside (now they were all hopping up and down--very cute).

Hmm, I wondered.

Then the pre-schoolers came scrambling back to their tree. The front office lady came racing out of the school, across the playground to where the 1st Graders ought to be and back in. Moments passed. 3 kindergarten teachers ran into the school, quickly returning with armloads of coats and began distrubiting them. I checked my clock... 3 minutes till the bell rang... what was going on?

As if on cue to my confused thoughts the 1st Graders again came running out of the school. I got out of my car and walked across the street. I could see my daughter and hear her teacher say, "If you're parents are here you can go home."

So I shout at her and she comes running pell-mell down the side walk, neighbor girl in tow. Tears streaming down their faces.

They could hardly make a coherent sentence, all their thoughts were on their scissors and books and shoes, my daughter even through her blanket into the mix (which is at home).

Evidently it wasn't a practice alarm.

So I calm them down and get them in the car before venturing back over to find my son amongst the Kindergartener's. By this point many parents were showing up and any bravery shown by the little ones was quickly disintegrating into tears. There were children without coats sobbing in their mother's arms, parents on phones, teachers at every exit, and just a whole lot of chaos.

I found my son, who I must say was rather calm, and led him to the car where I found the girls crying again. I comforted them and explained that if they lost their stuff I'm sure we could get them new, better stuff, but they were much more important.

Now I was driving away and talking to the neighbor girls mom on the phone so she would know what was going on. (which I didn't know much more than what I'd seen) As I turned the corner I spotted the fire truck, the kids screamed, I calmed them; then we saw the two police cars, more screaming, more calming; then it was the ambulance--which no one spotted but me (whew!).

What an afternoon! I have no idea what happened. I haven't gotten any information emailed to me so I'm assuming there will be school tomorrow. It was probably someone burning popcorn.

But whatever it was, it was dramatic and more than the littlest of people can handle. I imagine my daughter will be bringing it up for the next year and crying about it at night when she needs an excuse to stay up.

As a side note though, I've never had an actual fire alarm (we did the drills, but nothing real). How about you? Did you ever have something happen to your school?


I got my first snowflakes. I'll post them starting tomorrow (cause I had to tell you that story today).


Claire Wessel said…
Never a real fire alarm. Just lots of fights and one shooting (none of that until Junior High though, luckily). I think the most surprising thing that happened in the lower grades was when a 3rd grader got expelled for drugs and we all had to take drug tests.

It sounds likke they need to do more drills at that elementary school. At my schools, you had to stand around for an eternity until they rang the all clear bell. When I was in second grade, my fire drill job was to grab the class pet (a hamster) and take it with me. Hopefully no class pets perished in the chaos!
Lisa said…
We had one or two, but I think they we're false alarms. We did have a lock down once. I don't know what the real story was, but us grade schoolers were talking about guys with guns on campus.

Did kids come running out of the school all crazy-like?
Winsor said…
That is so crazy. Did you ever find out what happened/caused the fire? I never had a "real" fire alarm go off while I was at school, but I did where I live now (twice). The second time was absolutely horrible because it was at 1 or 2 a.m.
cannwin said…
We got a note home yesterday saying that the firefighter's searched throughout the school but could not find out what had caused the alarm to go off.

False Alarm.

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