Update: Bathroom trash-can fire at Denny IMS, no injuries

(WSB photo added: SFD Ladder 11 & Engine 11 outside Denny)
12:31 PM: A fire-alarm call at the Sealth/Denny campus is about an hour old, but several parents have e-mailed/texted us to say their kids at Denny reported to them there was some kind of actual fire. We’re checking on it but one crew member who passed by says the early dismissal ***appears to be proceeding as normal*** and there is NO external sign of anything wrong – we’re having trouble getting fire/school officials on the phone. (One person at the Denny office refused to comment.) More info as we get it.

12:44 PM: We have just spoken to firefighters at the school. They say someone started a fire in a bathroom trash can. No injuries or damage, but smoky.

12:54 PM: We also have heard back from SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who adds an extra detail: The fire alarm “failed to reset and continued to go back into alarm.” (That explains a detail we heard in texts from Denny and Sealth students, that it “just kept going off.”) Moore also confirms, no one hurt. SFD remains on scene, as we noted on our return trip (photo above, but note, hoses aren’t in use, another sign it was small).

2:20 PM: From Denny principal Jeff Clark via e-mail:

This afternoon at 11:30 we had a small fire in a garbage can in a 2nd floor bathroom. The resulting smoke caused the evacuation alarm to sound. As we were clearing the smoke, the evacuation alarm sounded several more times. Today is an early-release day for Seattle Public Schools — all students were released as planned at 12:10.

All students and staff are fine — there is no resulting damage to the building. Tomorrow will be a regular school day. All of our students did an outstanding job during our evacuation procedures.

27 Replies to "Update: Bathroom trash-can fire at Denny IMS, no injuries"

  • bertha September 25, 2013 (12:43 pm)

    Students are saying there was a fire in a bathroom garbage can. Lots of smoke.

    • WSB September 25, 2013 (1:07 pm)

      Thanks, Bertha. That’s what firefighters told us at the school. Our first person over had nowhere to leave the car due to the intense traffic of early dismissal, so when he came back to HQ, we went back (we live only about 2 mins away) and I drove so he could run out while I circled the block, and that’s when he found firefighters to get info from.
      Sorry it took a while to sort out – we were getting a ton of texts from understandably worried parents and even a few students. Fire alarm calls are not unusual (our son attends Sealth and had asked us about this one even before it hit the SFD online log – but there was no indication it was anything more than an alarm/drill until we started getting texts from parents who’d heard directly from Denny students) so we don’t routinely respond – with an actual fire, I would have expected this call to change on the SFD log, but it didn’t … TR

  • Mike September 25, 2013 (12:52 pm)

    My son mentioned he saw and smelled smoke during the fire drill that was held yesterday too.

  • Bonnie September 25, 2013 (1:45 pm)

    Thanks for updating. My son came home from school extremely upset!

  • hj September 25, 2013 (2:08 pm)

    Trash can fire… at least some things never change!

  • anonymous September 25, 2013 (2:52 pm)

    I saw the smoke coming from the bathroom when I went out of my classroom. When we were told to go back into the school cafeteria, the whole second floor was foggy.
    It was a pretty scary moment.

  • Jordan September 25, 2013 (2:59 pm)

    Why does this remind me of the (very) old song, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”? Good that everyone is OK and no damage to the building.

    • WSB September 25, 2013 (3:11 pm)

      FWIW since you mention it, a parent reports his student said it happened in the ground-floor girls’ restroom. No word of exact cause but we will check back with SFD, whose official investigative unit, Marshal 5, was dispatched. – TR

  • Bonnie September 25, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    My son said 2nd floor but who knows…

  • Live Better Work Union September 25, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    Arson. Girls Rest Room outside Rm 240 something…..damage to walls in bathroom, smoke damage to corridor ceiling tiles (special order ie expensive), spendy stunt. Not to mention there is a video camera right outside the bathroom so SPD is going to be paying a visit to someone soon….

    • WSB September 25, 2013 (4:34 pm)

      We have a followup question out to the fire department, might not hear back until tomorrow. Same with SPS – our regular media contact was out today so we will find someone else to ask tomorrow.

  • whatwillbenext September 25, 2013 (3:59 pm)

    My kid said it was on the second floor and started by a student in the girls bathroom

  • Alki Resident September 25, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    This easily could’ve turned really bad had a child been trapped in the bathroom . Whoever is responsible for this needs to be evaluated, and shouldn’t be allowed back to school until then. Sounds like a very dangerous person.

  • Cece September 25, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    I was scary and exciting:)

  • some 7th grader September 25, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    I was in the middle hall and i saw black smoke and i just ran and started telling teachers and then the alarm whent off!!!

  • 7th grader September 25, 2013 (5:04 pm)

    I was in lunch when this happened but my 6&7 period are together and lunch was I between so I left my backpack there. At first I thought some dumb 7th grader pulled it because of are drill yesterday but I started to here it was real. I was really scared. But we went back inside and smelled/saw the smoke but I couldn’t get my backpack since my last period is on the eight graders floor were not even a month in school

    • WSB September 25, 2013 (5:11 pm)

      The latest from SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore is: “It was a trash can fire that was extinguished by school staff. Fire Investigators responded to the scene and the cause is still under investigation. The damage was under $10.”

  • 7 grader September 25, 2013 (6:13 pm)

    I was at lunch when this happened but me and my friends heard the alarm and thought it was just a drill but soon we found out that there was a real fire we got scared:(

  • NorDel September 25, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    Bonnie, it’s nice to hear that my child wasn’t the only one EXTREMELY upset.

    My sixth grader said she doesn’t feel safe at school. :( It’s been a tough couple of days for her. There was another unexpected drill yesterday, the actual fire today, she smelled smoke and panicked, she saw a kid with a bloody eye asking a volunteer for help, and some 8th grade bully yanked her down by the ponytail after they were allowed back into the building. She’s exhausted emotionally. I’m just glad it was a half day so she had time to relax and prepare for tomorrow.

  • Lisa September 25, 2013 (7:25 pm)

    Our daughter came home telling us the smoke was from a 7th grader girl smoking in the 2nd floor north wing bathroom, another student saw the smoke and alerted a nearby teacher.

    The staff made sure the kids were safe and they directed the kids to either the library or galleria depending on where their class was located.

    The fire alarm went off 3 more times while the staff was cleaning up after the fire.

    We received an email from Denny staff alerting about the fire.

  • Lisa September 25, 2013 (7:28 pm)

    There was a fire drill st Denny because SPD determined one was needed, there was no fire yesterday at the school.

  • Citizen September 26, 2013 (8:28 am)

    The damage may be approximately $10 but there is also the cost for the fire department to respond. If there was another emergency at the same time that needed fire department response there would have been a real problem. I suggest that reimbursement for the fire department response be considered.

  • clementine September 26, 2013 (9:02 am)

    This happened at my child’s middle school(Washington) two years ago. It actually happened twice, both fires in the girls bathroom garbage can. A student was expelled after the second fire, and there haven’t been any fires of this kind since. I hope they catch the arsonist at Denny.

  • AHresident September 26, 2013 (1:57 pm)

    My child was at football practice at Chief Sealth field last night, and someone started a fire in one of the porta-potties at the field. Fire dept had to come put the fire out. Wonder if it’s related.

    • WSB September 26, 2013 (1:58 pm)

      Thanks, AHres, there was a call to the Sealth address (which was the address for yesterday’s call even though Denny is on the other side of the campus and has its own address, on Kenyon instead of Thistle) late last night and I meant to check.

  • Joe September 28, 2013 (12:57 pm)

    I just do not FEEL safe anymore…

    How can this happen ?

  • Denny Student October 3, 2013 (3:43 pm)

    i was scared about what the person would do next if (s)he is not cought!!!

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