by Diana Stoyanova and Sneha Ramshanker
Last Wednesday at around 6 p.m. a refrigerator in the ASW cafeteria burst into flames and smoke engulfed the rest of the school, resulting in the cancellation of classes for two days.
The fire was caused by the malfunction of a refrigeration unit in the cafeteria. According to Mr. Sheehan, a videotape from the security cameras shows the lights in the refrigerator flicker on and off and then a spark ignites at the base of the case. Heavy smoke comes from the machine and all that is visible in the recording are the silhouettes of people trying to extinguish the fire.
Even though it was mainly smoke, there were some flames that spread through the rest of the food area in the cafeteria.
Two twelfth graders, Sylvain Wasson and Francesco Gerosa, were at school at the time of the incident and they say that “when the fire alarm rang, we were like ‘it’s alright’”. Thus, the two of them simply ignored the alarm until they saw distressed cleaning ladies running down the hall. Francesco compares the scene to a horror movie when you see shadows darting in the distance.
Wasson and Gerosa claim that the smoke made the incident seem like a much bigger deal than it actually was.
However, Mr. Sheehan says that the fire “burned all of the units that were on that wall” and melted the food items directly across from it along with the small sushi display in that area. Thus, it damaged a majority of the food area in the cafeteria.
Furthermore, it melted the ceiling tiles and “left a film of soot on just about everything in the library”, forcing the school to close it down for professional cleaning. According to Mr. Sheehan, nothing in the library was permanently damaged.
Both the library and the cafeteria will be closed until after we all return from break.
Until then, ASW will get used to the new “gym-teria”. Mr. Sheehan says the replacement cafeteria is currently functioning very efficiently but he is aware that the food available for high schoolers is subpar. He stated that he has communicated this issue with the cafeteria staff and they are trying to improve. This is difficult to accomplish given that they have to prepare all of the meals off campus because “the kitchen is completely inoperable.”
The fire caused the school to close for two class days. Mr. Sheehan joked that “people say that we have never had a snow day and now as we head into winter we’ve had two fire days.”
photo credits: Sagiv Boniel