ALASKA – Police say a 15-year-old freshman boy faces a second-degree criminally negligent burning charge, a misdemeanor, and a first-degree terroristic threatening charge, a felony, after he ignited a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom of West High School Wednesday morning.
Under Alaska law, a person causing the evacuation of a building can receive a terroristic threatening charge. And that is reportedly what happened after alarms sounded at West High at 10:57 a.m.
Anchorage firefighters responded to the scene. More specifically, eleven units responded to the scene. Fire Capt. Chad Richardson said smoke could be seen seeping out of the first-floor bathroom door about 150 feet away. He went on to say when firefighters opened the door to the bathroom, they were hit with a floor-to-ceiling wall of smoke, limiting visibility: “It was basically like closing your eyes.”
The flames reportedly started in a plastic toilet paper holder connected to a tile wall. Dispatchers said that the automatic sprinkler system was activated and doused the flames.
But that didn’t stop fire Captain Chad Richardson who said the melted dispenser had fallen from the wall. Let me repeat that. The melted dispenser had fallen from the wall. Richardson and his crew went into action, breaking off tile and using thermal imaging to see if the blaze had spread. Fortunately, it had not.
Upon reflection, fire Captain Chad Richardson summed up the incident this way: “Schools aren’t built to burn.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
No students were injured either by fire or smoke inhalation according to a school district spokeswoman. They were, however, briefly evacuated. And thankfully, another would be terrorist has been apprehended. America is safe…for now.