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Dec. 7, 2005

Trashcan fire prompts evacuation during seventh period

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor and Alex Mazerov, Page Editor
A fire in the girls' bathroom in the 350s hallway triggered a fire alarm and prompted a school-wide evacuation at approximately 1:55 p.m. today.

The fire was set intentionally, according to Building Services Manager Reginald Tobin. "Somebody lit the trashcan on fire," he said.
Firefighters were called to Blair to contain the blaze that started on the third floor on Dec. 7. Jeff Lautenberger
Firefighters were called to Blair to contain the blaze that started on the third floor on Dec. 7.

Less than fifteen minutes before the end of seventh period, Magnet Biology teacher Angelique Bosse saw thick smoke outside her classroom, in the adjacent 360s hallway. Senior Natasha Coleman, a student in Bosse's class, said, "We saw people sprinting out of [a nearby] classroom."

Five engine companies, two ladder trucks, one rescue squad, one medic unit and a few fire chiefs arrived at Blair within ten minutes of the alarm sounding. The fire was contained to the bathroom, according to Rescue Chief Allan Platky. Before 2:30 p.m., the fire was extinguished and fans were used to ventilate the area. Platky said that investigators were expected to arrive at Blair because the situation was serious. Though it "may seem like a prank," Platky said, the fire had endangered several people.

According to Tobin, the damage was not severe and will require only that the restroom be closed. "It's enough damage to close the bathroom," he said.

Buses for regular students left according to schedule, at around 2:15 p.m. Students who remained entered the stadium. By 2:35 p.m., students with an eighth period were released from the stadium and allowed to leave school grounds. At 2:47 p.m., an announcement was made prohibiting staff and students from accessing the third floor. Students who left their belongings in their third floor classrooms were not allowed to retrieve them.

Towards the beginning of seventh period, Magnet teachers Ralph Bunday and David Stein noticed an extinguished fire in the girls' bathroom of the 310s hallway. The fire was reported by Magnet coordinator Eileen Steinkraus.

Ten minutes of seventh period will be held at the beginning of school tomorrow, Dec. 8.

According to the Blair Discipline Policy, the minimum consequence for arson is a ten-day suspension.



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  • physics guy on December 7, 2005 at 5:04 PM
    Bunday is the man!
  • c on December 7, 2005 at 5:16 PM
    yay for fast reporting!
  • Jordan Johnson (View Email) on December 7, 2005 at 5:18 PM
    i would like to aplaud the blair safey committee (all 4 of us) for our rapid response and attempts at control.
  • Hyder on December 7, 2005 at 5:24 PM
    "Magnet Physics teacher Ralph Bunday extinguished and reported a fire..."

    You da man, Bunday!
  • click five on December 7, 2005 at 5:42 PM
    that fire was cruel and not cool
    and the person who did knew what they were doing
  • Minh on December 7, 2005 at 5:46 PM
    I WANT MY STUFF. That is all.
  • 07 on December 7, 2005 at 5:59 PM
    People who intentionally set fires have issues. Seriously, what could be going through their heads? I'm so disgusted with how some students don't respect Blair; why don't they just drop out? When the 310's girls' bathroom was trashed one week, I was wondering, what are these people getting out of this? Yea, Blair isn't perfect, but why aren't people grateful towards their FREE education? GOD. Grow-up people, because you make everyone else look stupid too. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to be going to school with kids who set the building on fire because they want to "rebel." That is complete bull.
  • hapless victim on December 7, 2005 at 5:59 PM
    fire makes me cold
  • Elliott (View Email) on December 7, 2005 at 6:10 PM
    This is INSANE!!! This happened at Paint Branch a week ago.
  • anon on December 7, 2005 at 6:21 PM
    people are stupid
  • jo (View Email) on December 7, 2005 at 6:24 PM
    will there be school tomorrow
  • Leandra on December 7, 2005 at 6:25 PM
    Yay Jeff!
    awesome photos!
  • props on December 7, 2005 at 6:36 PM
    way to get this up quickly, varun.
  • felicia on December 7, 2005 at 6:39 PM
    man i was lucky to not be in the area even though i couldn't get my stuff from my locker...... man i was scared and upset that i would not get my stuff but i got it thanks to a person i would not mention.... *sigh* this day was very devastating and exhusting!!!
  • Hmm.... on December 7, 2005 at 6:43 PM
    It was kinda funny how we've been practicing fire drills for years and yet when we actually had a fire it was extremely disorganized and chaotic and the stadium wasn't even unlocked for at least 10 minutes after the alarm sounded.

    But it doesn't even matter because Blair could never actually burn down. It's probably made of weird materials to actually catch fire, plastic, stone, etc. It might melt though...
  • Jisung Kim on December 7, 2005 at 6:49 PM
    DUDE I WAS THERE TOO!
    WHY DIDN'T YOU INTERVIEW MEEEE?!
    C'MON VARUN QUOTE ME NOW!
    "We thought it was a drill at first then Ms. Bosse saw the smoke then we ran out!"
    Ok that better be in there
  • Yiran on December 7, 2005 at 7:01 PM
    like Minh said, I WANT MY STUFF TOO!!!
    i mean really if its some student who started the fire just to get out of classes, i think the school should expel him or her. This is just soo stupid, if you wanted to get out, then just leave, skip, disappear. There is no need to drag everyone into this whole mess!!!
  • km on December 7, 2005 at 7:06 PM
    education isnt free, you pay for it with taxes
    and to Minh...consider quickly grabbing your stuff next time especially if its not a drill
  • Uknown on December 7, 2005 at 7:14 PM
    haha,i didnt have night school!keep it up,and why were the firemen walking so slow?
  • Yang Shan on December 7, 2005 at 7:33 PM
    Agreeing with both Minh and Yiran: I REALLY NEED MY STUFF TOO. I will fail my test tomorrow because of this fire.

    Bags are heavy and we are always told not to grab personal belongs in case of a real fire. Weren't we just following procedure, km? I realize we could have grabbed our stuff, but we didn't (some teachers even required their students to leave stuff behind). Some things just can't be helped now, I suppose.
  • jo2 on December 7, 2005 at 7:34 PM
    Yeah, will there be school tomorrow, from an official source?
  • we on December 7, 2005 at 7:41 PM
    whoa u were allowed to leave school grounds by 235?? then i should go tell the teachers who stopped me for having subway...

    also do we have school tomorrow?
  • student on December 7, 2005 at 7:50 PM
    is there school tomorrow?
  • Anonymous on December 7, 2005 at 7:52 PM
    I agree with Hmm.... This was extremely disorganized. It's great that we can do a drill in 7 minutes or whatever the record was, but when it comes to use that information, we take at least 15 just to open the stadium and most teachers didn't have their attendance sheets.
  • ^ on December 7, 2005 at 7:59 PM
    i didn't even know it wasn't a drill till i read this. everyone i know was taking their sweet time getting out. that really scares me cause what would happen if the school actually burned? i know it sounds cheesy and pointless and we should take drills seriously but maybe we should have "this is not a drill" announcements.

    way to go SCO for fast, quality reporting

    why would someone set a fire? it's not funny. they are damn lucky no one got hurt but they still wasted the fire dpt's time, the entire school's, and put everyone in jeopardy. i hope they had a good reason, cause ten minutes less of school is definitely not one
  • * on December 7, 2005 at 8:03 PM
    i agree with the comment from "07". i think it's stupid when people play these pranks. the fire department had to come to our school to put out a prank fire when someone else could have been killed/injured in a house fire, or some other event that was much more serious.
    and it does embarass our school, especially when people stoop down to such a low level, just to get out of school early? there were 15 minutes left of school, why didn't these people just skip or drop out?
    and if people actually think it's cool to play these pranks, that's just sad.
  • aj on December 7, 2005 at 8:26 PM
    I blame the teachers for letting the kids have hall pass.They should had followed Mr. Gainous rules about gaving hall pass.That rule was put to prevent people for fighting and TO STOP STUPID THINGS LIKE TODAY FROM HAPPENING. I guest BLAIR IS NOT SAVE AFTER ALL.Fire is not a game and Blair must take it seroiusly.Use the cameras to solve this happen before it goes to far or have more security guards in the hallways. Also search everyone locker and bags for lightier. IT BEST TO HAVE A SPEECH TOMMORROW ABOUT TODAY.....have RESPECT AND BE POLITE......
  • jeff (View Email) on December 7, 2005 at 8:29 PM
    that makes a lot of sense, km, how are we possibly supposed to know whether its a drill or not, especially when we're just told to get out when the alarm goes off?
  • me hee hee on December 7, 2005 at 8:42 PM
    to km
    if your stuff is in your locker how can you grab it?
  • Anonymous on December 7, 2005 at 9:04 PM
    i think that because it was in the girls bathroom it could be misleading because i guy could have done that to try to throw ppl off
  • *** on December 7, 2005 at 9:25 PM
    Yea everything was so chaotic. Nobody listened to the teachers. Mainly I think Ppl were just thinking about getting home (I know I was) But who ever did this really needs to check herself there was only 10mins left until school was out. Geez ppl these days!
  • question on December 7, 2005 at 9:29 PM
    Why did the girls bathroom smell like smoke at the end of 5b? At first I just assumed that somebody had been smoking but now that I heard that somebody set a fire there right after I smelled the smoke it raises some questions.
  • yay on December 7, 2005 at 9:32 PM
    great reporting.
    also, fantastic pictures.
  • . on December 7, 2005 at 9:40 PM
    i had to leave my pants with my wallet, keys and cell phone in my gym locker and take the ride on home wearing my gym clothes.
  • to hmm... on December 7, 2005 at 9:45 PM
    i agree. i also think it's kind of ironic that we constantly hear from the administration how much effort STUDENTS and TEACHERS need to put into the safety of the school. and whenever we have a PLANNED fire drill we can all handle it fine, mostly because the administration is expecting it and already has the stadium unlocked, etc.

    but when the real deal comes around, its the ADMINISTRATION who failed to provide us a safe refuge from the fire. we had nowhere to go except to leave school. until after 2:10 when we were finally allowed into the stadium.

    sorry to make assumptions here about who's responsible for that, but i cant think of who else has the authority to unlock the stadium in a quick manner.
  • 09! on December 7, 2005 at 9:48 PM
    I think it is funny that a lot of people grabbed their stuff and packed up before they left the building. It wasn't even a drill this time and it was worse than a regular drill. The thing I don't understand, however, is the fact that there will be 10 minutes of 7th period tomorrow. Won't that just take away 18 minutes of the rest of our class time? And who really has an important class seventh period? Oh and what about the people with eighth periods who missed all of it? It doesn't make any sense to me at all.
  • umm okay aj..... on December 7, 2005 at 9:51 PM
    aj, dude, chill. "also search everyone locker and bags for lightier"...learn how to spell first off, and second how are you going to search every locker and bag in this school? they would have no right first off and second....its impossible.
  • 09! on December 7, 2005 at 9:53 PM
    That locker search would be so un-necessary. Who would stash their lighter in their locker AFTER they lit the school on fire? Plus that would get so many other people in trouble AND take away from more of school.
  • senior WAMS on December 7, 2005 at 10:00 PM
    Afther all these year at bliar, afther all these fire drills at bliar, prepareing for the event of a real fire. this is the most disorganized fire alarm i had ever seen in my whole life. we were in the stadium that was closed ( ppl it have to be open in case of a "EMERGENCY" that why we "PREPARE OUR SELF" in a "EMERGENCY" ) we were in the middle of the whole dilema. ppl running fire men comeing, ppl almost got hit by a truck because we dident knew were to go because the "STADUIM WAS CLOSED". enven that everybody came out ok, what happen to that fire in the BR. BTW why the auto sprinker went off? because in case of a fire it have to go off. but why, giveme a answer. to MBHS emergency team, staff and everyone PLASE be more organized cuz these thing are very delecated stuff. AND PLEASE KEEP THE STADUIM OPEN JUST IN CASE THINGS LIKE THIS DONT HAPPEN AGAIN, peace..
  • mad WmAs on December 7, 2005 at 10:05 PM
    who did these must be punish, safty couminity good job!!!
  • Anonymous on December 7, 2005 at 10:06 PM
    yo yo, this fire was a foe yo, fo sho.
    i believe that what happened today wasn't too bad. all the students evactuated in an organized fashion and there were no casualties, which is what matters most. and to aj, aside from your horrible english skillz, we do not need an assembly. the people who did this will be punished and that will be that. no need to waste more school time on needless things... an anouncement would be more than enough to explain everything.
  • jo3 on December 7, 2005 at 10:10 PM
    i really want to know if there is school
  • gosh on December 7, 2005 at 10:25 PM
    to aj...you cant blame the teachers...they're just being normal people...honestly, there are more good kids at blair than there are bad, so why penalize all for some peoples immaturity. Distributing a hall pass isnt that serious; blame the students for acting like little incompetent children. And your little idea about searching everyone is unrealistic and noone would do that. Honestly...all security has to do is look at the cameras that are in the hallway that the bathroom was in and see who was exiting around the time of the fire...criminals are stupid and theyre gonna get caught.
  • elissa fischel on December 7, 2005 at 11:15 PM
    ahhhhhhh what. look guys they're closing bathrooms left and right and we already have to walk across the school to pee. stop hating on the girls bathrooms, they're my favorite. and being late to class everyday and having to wait in line for 10 minutes because of stupid crap like this is ridiculous. oh and you could have killed people. PEACE, and pyros, please chill out.
  • so... on December 7, 2005 at 11:49 PM
    there obviously is school, the article says we'll have 10 minutes of 7th period first thing tommorrow.
  • out of curiousity on December 7, 2005 at 11:56 PM
    just wondering... why was Mr. Bunday in the girl's bathroom?

    and 10 minutes of seventh period? Where did the logic in that come from? Good grief. And to "jo" (1, 2, and 3), seeing that the article states that there will be "ten minutes of seventh period tomorrow," it probably means that there is going to be school tomorrow. But if you're still keeping your hopes up, I suggest you look at the MCPS website or cable channel 34 tomorrow morning and see whether there are any emergency notices concerning Blair.
  • ..... on December 8, 2005 at 7:40 AM
    The problem in this school isn't the fire that was set (that happens everywhere), it is the fact that our students can't type.
  • Parent on December 8, 2005 at 9:49 AM
    Why did it take 10 minutes for the firetrucks to arrive? The station is immediately NEXT to the school.
  • Dead Serious (View Email) on December 8, 2005 at 11:33 AM
    I just want it to be known that if a fire like yesterday's happens and I have to wait to get to safety (or whatever the stadium is supposed to be) I wil be going home. The teachers were saying get away from the building and I did just that. I don't see how they can expect us to waint so close to a building on fire and not try to protect ourselves someone should speak out.
  • blaser on December 8, 2005 at 12:43 PM
    I had left my jacket and stuff I needed to bring home in my locker, so if I had actually needed to go home on the 2:10 buses, I would've had to gone without all my stuff. Instead, I had to wait until 3:00 when I could go to my locker and then catch a Ride-On home. How many people missed their buses? I was in my homeroom section, and the buses started leaving and teachers were like, "Run to your bus if you're going to catch it," but there was no chance if I had needed to catch a regular bus that I would've made it.
  • Shish kabob on December 8, 2005 at 3:55 PM
    omg...she did it AGAIN! what is wrong wit her? she is like freakin PSYCOTIC or sumthn!
  • dude on December 8, 2005 at 4:45 PM
    "out of curiousity :: 12/7/2005, 11:56 PM
    just wondering... why was Mr. Bunday in the girl's bathroom? "

    I'm feel bad for you. Your sense of smell must be completely worthless if you can't smell a RECENTLY PUT OUT FIRE NEXT TO YOUR ROOM!
  • yurt on December 8, 2005 at 5:20 PM
    i just went straight to my bus when i saw the gate was locked. i was already packed up anyway. people missed the bus, thats hilarious! what 10 minutes till dismisal is like the final bell, think guys!
  • TO: umm okay aj..... on December 8, 2005 at 7:23 PM
    as a matter of fact, administration is allowed to search everyone's locker if they wanted to, they don't even need a reason to. If you paid attention in NSL, you have less rights in school then outside of school.

    but i do think that that aj fella needs to chill out.
  • GOSH on December 9, 2005 at 4:31 PM
    to 09!

    "The thing I don't understand, however, is the fact that there will be 10 minutes of 7th period tomorrow. Won't that just take away 18 minutes of the rest of our class time? And who really has an important class seventh period?"

    are you joking? people have all different classes 7th period...maybe you have CONNECTIONS..or P.E. or something. im assuming that you think this cuz youre a freshman so its gravy [just for future reference]... but dont think that 7th period is a chill period.
  • Blazer 08 on December 9, 2005 at 5:29 PM
    to aj:
    If you ask for a bathroom pass, the teacher isn't automatically going to assume that you are an arsonist and think that you will set a bathroom trashcan on fire. Some of teachers actually think that we do need to go to the bathroom during class. It isn't the teacher's fault. Searching over 3000 students' bags and lockers would be pointless and waste a lot of time.

    To yurt:
    A lot of people didn't know if it was a real fire or not, and if you remember fire safety, you're always supposed to leave your stuff and exit the builing quickly. Students have classes such as gym or music in which their belongings are not easily accessible at a moment's notice. And some people actually use their lockers to store their belongings. Also, ten minutes before class is over, you should still be paying attention to what your teacher is talking about, not packed up yet.

    To Parent:
    It had to be determined that a real fire was going on before the firetrucks and other emergency technians showed up. It takes a bit of time to figure that out, especially in a school as large as Blair.
  • alumna3 on December 10, 2005 at 7:27 AM
    The continuity/flow of this article is a bit unclear(IMO). I think the 3rd to last paragraph(beginning with Towards then end) should be up above. It did not read right to me that it was explained/stated that "Bunday & Stein noticed an extinguished fire" so many paragrahps after "Bosse noticed thick smoke".

    I think the message to be conveyed is that Bunday& Stein noticed an extinguished fire aroun 12:50pm, and then there was the actual fire Bosse noticed 1 hr later, aroound 1:50p.

    This article read better if the two infos were together.
  • . on December 11, 2005 at 12:58 PM
    how about you get a life and stop criticizing this. it would be better if you stop and appreciate that these people put up the story fast, exemplary of the chips motto: nullae morae nullae rationales
  • yo mama (View Email) on December 12, 2005 at 5:10 PM
    wow thats pretty crazy!
  • Ironic on December 12, 2005 at 7:44 PM
    I find it rather ironic that we can evacuate in six minutes and forty seconds during a drill (http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/inside.php?sid=5653) but it takes more then 10 minutes just to open the stadium.
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