At approximately 7:55 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, orchestra teacher Felecia Keys was helping her chamber group (sophomores Emma Boersma and Shimin Zhang and freshman Elise Sommerhaug) prepare for their concert that evening, when suddenly a loud beeping noise began.
The chamber group, along with all other students and teachers, went to the back field as though it were a normal fire alarm.
The fire alarm was set off by water flow on the second floor of the lower school building, Jay Holman, director of the physical plant, said.
Holman said he allowed the alarm to continue ringing while he and other faculty checked whether it was false or not.
After verifying that it was a false alarm, Holman said he silenced the horns and reset the panel.
The incoming alarm was caused by a tripped water flow switch in the lower school fire sprinklers, Holman said.
The fire sprinkler system underwent annual testing on April 17.
“It is the belief of the service company that there was an air bubble in the sprinkler line that resulted in a tripped flow switch,” he said.
The fire panel has been working normally since its resetting, and there was no damage.
However, the alarm did cause some inconveniences for students.
Because the chamber group lost about 10 minutes of practice time the day of a concert, their class was let out a bit later than usual, Boersma said.
Sophomore Savannah Rosenzweig, who was in the library when the alarm went off, said the alarm scared her because it took place before school, when students are not all in attendance or in a specific classroom.
“There was no way of knowing if someone was still inside or roaming around,” Rosenzweig said.
“(And) I’m sure (students) who were arriving at school while the alarm was going off were probably scared.”
—By Héloïse Schep