Beatrice High School students waited out Wednesday morning’s storm in the Hevelone Center after severe weather caused a fire alarm to malfunction.
Beatrice Fire and Rescue Capt. Jake Carrel said the cause of the false alarm wasn’t identified, but witnesses at the school reported a loud boom and lightning was spotted in the area.
“The fire alarm system was showing a fire suppression system alarm that was basically showing an alarm, but no water was flowing out of the sprinklers,” he said. “It was an unusual situation there. Lightning struck somewhere in area. Several people said they heard a loud boom. That very well may have contributed to it.”
Students typically exit the building when a fire alarm is activated, but principal Jason Sutter said students were instead directed to the Hevelone Center due to the threat of lightning and heavy rain.
“We had a lightning strike near our school,” Sutter said. “There’s no confirmation lightning hit our building, but we feel that it caused the alarm system to go off during the rain storm. We took precautionary measures and followed our protocol as far as a fire alarm, but because of the lightning and rain moved to the Hevelone Center.”
Sutter said students were kept in the Hevelone Center, the theatre and concert area of the high school, for around 20 minutes. The alarm company was called to the scene to reset the school’s system, but Sutter said it was not damaged.
He added teachers and students conducted themselves appropriately when responding to the alarm.
“The kids and teachers did a wonderful job,” Sutter said. “We had to make some quick decisions what to do and we were told by the Fire Department we made the right decision and responded very well.”
The Beatrice Municipal Airport reported 50 hundreths of an inch of rain prior to 7 a.m. and another 72 hundreths between 7 a.m. and early Wednesday afternoon.