Dust Sets Off False Alarm in Elson

The Andover Fire Department was fooled on Tuesday, when dust particles set off the fire alarms in the Elson Art Center. The Andover Fire Department arrived equipped with a full response team, including a fully-armed fire truck and an ambulance. Phillips Academy Public Safety (PAPS) joined the fire department as well. According to art teachers who usually work in Elson, false alarms are uncommon. However, “Something like this happens does every now and then,” said Thomas Conlon, Manager of PAPS. According to Conlon, the heads of the sensors in the building’s duct system often get dirty. Sometimes, this dirt can trigger a false alarm. The duct systems in all the campus buildings are cleaned out yearly, but some of them may be more sensitive than others, he said. “We haven’t really had any [false alarms] anywhere else in quite a while,” Conlon said. Elaine Crivelli, Instructor in Art, teaches classes both first and second period. She did not find the false alarm particularly disruptive to her classes. “Fire alarms and drills can be disruptive to classes but they are necessary,” said Crivelli. She continued, “In [Tuesday’s] case, the alarm went off at the very end of [first period] class and went into about five minutes of period 2, so it wasn’t disruptive.” Teachers and students evacuated the building for about five minutes. According to Conlon, the Andover Fire Department was on campus for a total of 10 minutes.