MILLBURN, NJ – Millburn High School students and faculty were forced to evacuate the building after a fire started in the ceiling of trainer’s room at the front of the school.
Although the fire department has yet to confirm the cause of the small blaze, there is speculation among the faculty that the fire was caused by a tripped electrical circuit or a power malfunction causing the wires to short. At approximately 9:25 a.m. Millburn High School lost power and the entire building went dark. Minutes later, the power returned, and the students proceeded to their classes, ahead of normal schedule due to shortened periods. The students were dismissed at 12:15 p.m. due to a scheduled staff development session at the high school.
Moments into fourth period, at approximately 9:45 a.m. the fire alarms sounded, forcing everyone to evacuate. “I was very concerned when I smelled the smoke and the alarm went off” said Nicky Santagata, an MHS Junior. “I figured there wouldn’t be a drill on a half day, so I knew something was up. My teacher told me where to go, to leave the building. With the blackout, and everything else, we kind of figured this wasn’t a drill.”
Millburn High School runs two drills each month to meet the State’s safety requirements. One of those drills must be a fire drill. Due in large part to the efficient and organized execution of safety procedures by students and teachers, there were no injures. “I think the evacuation went very well. I don’t imagine perfection” said Dr. Miron, MHS Principal. “People exited without panicking. You can’t have it both ways. You want people, during a fire, to exit quickly. But if they start sprinting, that’s going to cause a panic. You can’t get out much faster than we did, and I think that’s the bottom line.”
Students and faculty waited for the fire to be extinguished by the Millburn Fire Department that lasted until 10:30 a.m. The small fire caused minimal damage to the high school and the students returned to their respective classes and continued with the abbreviated day’s schedule.