This is not a drill – Nipmuc High School Electrical Equipment Fire

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Students at Nipmuc Regional High School cleared to return to the building

At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday March 5 the Upton Fire Department responded to an electrical fire at Nipmuc Regional High School.

The building was immediately evacuated.  Chief Goodale said, “While investigating we discovered a smoke condition on parts of the 3rd floor and an electrical equipment fire in Electrical Room #342.” According to the Chief the equipment involved was part of an air handling system. “There was considerable smoke but no significant fire damage on the 3rd floor,” said Chief Goodale.

Once the Fire Department confirmed the fire was out the students and faculty were relocated to the gym and auditorium. “We ventilated the smoke from the building and metered the area for contaminates or gases like carbon monoxide. The readings were 0 and the area deemed safe for re-entry,” said Chief Goodale.

According to Nipmuc Regional High School students as soon as the fire alarm sounded the staff at Nipmuc realized this was most likely not a drill. Evan Offord, a Junior at the school, said his teacher advised them this was not a scheduled alarm. Evan said his teacher seemed a little nervous, “No one knew what was going on. I was a little nervous.” The teachers seemed to have a heightened awareness and were keeping track of the students according to Evan. “I’m glad everyone was safe,” Evan said.

Chelsea Gorius, a Junior at the school, was on the third floor in the wing where the fire was. Her teacher didn’t mention anything to the students about whether it was a drill or not. Chelsea said, “She told us to leave the room and go outside through the stairwell.” She did notice her teacher stayed at the back of the group making sure they all got out. Chelsea said, “Once we were all in the parking lot she got us all together and counted us off right away, most of the classes seemed to do the same.”  Chelsea said there was no smell or visual sign of a fire when she was exiting the building but when she later returned to her class there was a definite odor, “Even at the end of the day I could still smell it.”

Nipmuc Principal John Clements sent an email out to parents shortly after the situation had been resolved advising them of the evacuation. Clements said he was thankful for the support of the Upton Fire Department and the Upton Police Department. Mr. Clements also thanked his staff and the students for their flexibility while the matter was addressed.

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