Small fire occurs at NKHS


Jacob Maguire

A look inside the dryer where Friday’s fire occurred

Less than two hours after a fire drill on Friday, Aug. 29, the fire alarm rang again, but this time it was real. A small fire occurred in the laundry room near the school cafeteria, resulting in a school-wide evacuation and a response from the fire department.

No one was injured during the incident.

The fire originated in the dryer, which was drying four new mop heads at the time. Aside from damage to the dryer itself, which has since been removed from the school, no other damage occurred.

Dr. Thomas Kenworthy, principal, and Mr. John Dyer, a custodian, discovered the fire. The two saw smoke coming from the room. Shortly after, Kenworthy began to receive reports of smoke from other staff members in the building as it spread through the ventilation system. Upon seeing the fire, Dyer promptly pulled the fire alarm and the evacuation process began.

Dyer got the fire under control with several buckets of water by the time the fire department arrived. Mr. Howard Hague, a teacher and athletic director, and the school police officer on duty also provided assistance. At some point, the dryer’s glass window exploded.

The fire occurred during fourth period on Friday, and students reentered the building within one hour of the evacuation.

“The fire department and maintenance [will investigate the cause of the fire],” Dyer said. “It is very important to keep people safe.”

Although the exact cause of the fire is currently unknown, Dyer speculated several possible causes. “[The fire] most likely occurred as the result of a lint buildup in the pipe behind the dryer,” he said. However, a material used in the mop heads could have made them more flammable, he added. Dyer promised to leave the mop heads out to air dry in the future.

In addition, Dyer said, the dryer may have been brought from the old NKHS building to the new school, which opened in 2001. The age of the dryer may have played a role in the fire.

Although Friday’s events were unexpected and inconvenient for students, staff, and the fire department, Kenworthy was impressed with the response from everyone involved. “I was happy everyone took [the fire] seriously and we got it under control,” he said. “If it had to have happened, I was pleased with the overall outcome.”