Wasuma Elementary staff and students had a short-lived scare on their first day back to school on Thursday, Aug. 21.
“We smelled smoke,” Principal Jason Mercier said, “which triggered the alarms, and students were evacuated to the fields. Obviously, student safety is our first priority.”
Given that Ahwahnee Forest Fire Station is just outside the school grounds on Highway 49, fire engines responded within just a couple of minutes.
“When we got here,” fifth-grader Garrett Pack said, “I thought we were very late or very early because I didn’t see any kids.”
Then he spotted his friends and other students standing on the field behind the school, as well as the fire engines parked to one side.
“I’m very pleased with the quick response of the school and firefighters — they protect our children and take their safety seriously,” Terri (Garrett’s mother) said.
After a thorough check by the fire crew, it was determined that the smoke was the result of loose belts in the air conditioning unit. Shortly thereafter, staff and students returned to their respective rooms to begin their day.
Terri echoed what most parents were saying: “What a crazy way to start the school year.”
Like all schools within the district, Wasuma Elementary returned from summer vacation on Monday, Aug. 18, was closed for two days because of the Junction Fire on Aug. 19, 20, with classes resuming today, Aug. 21.