False fire alarm causes eva­cua­tion at John Ab­bott

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

The trig­ge­ring of smoke alarms at around noon on Mon­day at John Ab­bott Col­lege in Ste. Anne de Bel­le­vue cau­sed the to­tal eva­cua­tion of th­ree main buil­dings on the wa­ter­front cam­pus, parts of which are more than 100 years old.

Though Mon­treal fi­re­figh­ters from Ste. Anne de Bel­le­vue re­spon­ded in full force to the fire alarms, it was la­ter de­ter­mi­ned that there was no fire at all at the En­glish CE­GEP.

Ra­ther, the smoke that trig­ge­red alarms in Cas­grain, Pen­field and Herz­berg buil­dings was ge­ne­ra­ted by roof re­pair work being done on the Cas­grain buil­ding.

The buil­dings’ alarm sys­tems are lin­ked, so all were eva­cua­ted as a pre­cau­tion.

“We lear­ned late Mon­day night that there ne­ver was a fire at all,” Deb­bie Cribb, JAC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer said Tues­day mor­ning.

Confusion fol­lo­wing the sup­po­sed fire led to me­dia re­ports clai­ming a fire had star­ted in a buil­ding at McGill’s Macdo­nald cam­pus, which shares land with John Ab­bott Col­lege.

“There ne­ver was a fire at all, and it was ne­ver in a McGill buil­ding,” Cribb cla­ri­fied.

It was not clear what time the fire alarm soun­ded, but ac­cor­ding to Cribb the th­ree buil­dings were eva­cua­ted for a lit­tle more than an hour Mon­day af­ter­noon. The school is­sued an up­date at 1:26 p.m. in­di­ca­ting the eva­cua­ted buil­dings were again open. When the alarms soun­ded, some of the school’s 6,200 day­time stu­dents, as well as staff, were for­ced to stop what they were doing and im­me­dia­te­ly leave the buil­dings, which in­clude the col­lege’s li­bra­ry.

“They were out­side for maybe 20 mi­nutes be­fore they were di­rec­ted to other buil­dings to stay warm,” Cribb said. Stu­dents and staff were ad­vi­sed to seek shelter in the ca­fe­te­ria, the new science buil­ding, Cen­ten­nial Centre and Macdo­nald High School.

Re­pairs on the roof at Cas­grain be­gan on Nov. 19th. Cribb is not sure when the work will be com­ple­ted. There are no plans to di­sen­gage alarms while work conti­nues. “Wor­kers will just have to be more aware of the smoke and things like which way the wind is blo­wing,” Cribb no­ted.

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