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Broken sprinkler douses students
When students showed up for classes at Springwood Middle School on Wednesday morning, there was very little evidence left of an incident that happened the day before which resulted in the evacuation of the school.
A sprinkler head in the schools fire prevention system was activated after a student threw a rock at it, sending hundreds of gallons of water into classrooms and flooding the second floor hallway.
School District 69 superintendent Jim Ansell said staff at the school did a remarkable job evacuating the 417 students when the incident occurred just before the end of the school day February 14.
He also said the clean up crews did an amazing job.
“I was there the next morning and there were no signs that an event even happened,” he stated.
He said the damage was quite minimal considering how much water was released.
“A few text books got wet and we had to replace some ceiling tiles,” he admitted and added at this point he has no estimate on the cost of the cleanup.
He did agree the incident was tragic for some students in the scrapbooking elective whose projects were badly damaged by the water.
As for the student responsible, he has been dealt with according to Ansell. He said the incident was used as a learning opportunity for the child and his parents, who met with Parksville fire Chief Doug Banks to discuss the ramifications of what transpired.
“When I arrived at the school on the afternoon of the event, I could see there was a good conversation going on with all those involved.”
Banks said his department responded sending two trucks to the scene. He said once they determined there was no fire they disabled the sprinkler system but not before it released 18 to 20 gallons of water per minute over about a 15 minute period.
Banks said sprinkler heads contain a bulb that are sensitive to heat and when the bulb breaks, that is when water starts flowing. He said in this case the bulb broke because it was hit with an object.
He said the student who was throwing rocks inside the school has stated he didn’t mean to hit the sprinkler and he immediately informed his teacher when it happened. Banks said the lesson for students to learn from this incident is that rocks should not be thrown indoors.