Paint fumes trigger fire alarm

Emma van der Veen, Author

Paint fumes from an ongoing construction site set off a Palo Alto High School fire alarm at the beginning of 5th period today.

The alarm sounded around 12:15 p.m. According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, the painters working in 300B opened a door, sending paint fumes into the open space between the 200 and 300 buildings, setting off the alarm.

“They were painting in there [room 300B], and when they opened the door, the paint fumes set off the detector,” Berkson said. “They just have one wall left [to paint], so as long as they keep the door closed, there shouldn’t be any more problems.”

Senior Andrew Vargha says that the fire alarm was a distraction from planned activities and classes.

“I was getting ready to enjoy my prep, and the fire alarm went off, so that was a good 30-minute distraction,” Vargha said. “I know a lot of people have tests today, and some people were about to go take quizzes, so now they’re going to have less time for their tests and might have to stay in after class or come after school to finish their tests. It’s not good how many issues the fire alarm caused.”

Despite the delays and problems that the fire alarm causes, the problem is on its way to being fixed, according to Berkson.

“Maintenance will just deactivate the detector, so that should be done soon,” Berkson said.