HB’s series of unfortunate events


Avery Webb

Sitting dormant after erupting with water on January 3, the sinks in the science classroom are now fixed and working. It was an unfortunate coincidence that the water was not working at the time of the charger’s explosion. “I had to put snow on my hand to help with the burn,” said India Bremer ‘21.

Avery Webb, News Editor

It was a hectic day at HB on Wednesday, January 3, to say the least. This first week back from Christmas break was riddled with two-hour delays, and on Wednesday, the students were released early due to a few mishaps within the building.

During sixth period, students began noticing that the water was no longer working in the building. The toilets wouldn’t flush, the sinks wouldn’t work, and the water bubblers weren’t spitting out any water. This caused the toilets to begin to fill in an unsanitary manner, and everyone soon realized that this was a safety hazard. If a fire were to suddenly ignite, the emergency sprinklers might not release any water.

Not soon after, during the switch between sixth and seventh period, the fire alarm went off. Frustrated with the fact that it was only about 20 degrees outside, students left the building with their belongings so they could leave once the drill was over. Everyone began to gossip about whether or not this was only a drill, because typically the school stays away from  drills in the cold winter months. “When the alarms first went off I immediately thought, ‘Seriously a drill in the cold?’” said junior Addyson Rodonis ‘19. “Then it dawned on me that something must’ve happened or else we wouldn’t have had to be evacuated in the middle of the winter.”

The cause for the commotion was a DCAE portable iPhone charger. “I was walking up the staircase and it fell out of my backpack,” said India Bremer ‘21. “I picked it up and started walking back up the stairs and when I got to the top I started to hear this sizzling and popping sound and then I looked down and the plastic on my charger was starting to melt away.”

Bremer then dropped the melting charger because it burned her hand, and another student picked it up to put it in the water fountain. However, the water wasn’t working, so the smoke built up enough to make the alarms go off.

As the students lined up in their normal evacuation spots in the back parking lot, some drivers tried leaving school since the day would be over in an hour anyways. The exit was blocked off so that no one could leave in order for the teachers to account for every student in their group. Then, the fire trucks started rolling in.

Truck after truck arrived in the back lot, emotions ran high, and the students couldn’t help but gossip about the reason behind the commotion. Everyone soon found out that there was some small explosion in the building that filled the hallways of the third floor with smoke. No one knew if the explosion had anything to do with the problem with the pipes, and if they were separate events, it was a big coincidence.

Parents on the Hollis Brookline Community Facebook page began posting questions to other parents to find out what was going on at the school since so many things were still unknown. HB students who were at other schools for separate programs soon heard about it as well. Junior Cassidy Pigott ‘19 was at Alvirne for her Veterinary Sciences program, and she said, “All I knew was that I got a group text from my driver’s ed class saying that we should cancel class because the school was on fire.”

The students and staff remained outside in the cold for about 50 minutes while the fire department checked out the building and made it safe for people to return inside. The student body then gathered in the gymnasium, where Principal Rick Barnes announced that everything was clear, no one was seriously injured, and any students who drove themselves to school could go home. For students who left their belongings in their classrooms, this was a problem.

“I was in Accel Biology when the alarm went off and I left all of my stuff in the class including my keys,” said sophomore Johny Cadario ‘20. Part of the third floor of the building was closed off, and the science wing is on the third floor. Cadario explained, “I went to the second floor and found a staircase that wasn’t closed off and I was able to get my keys.”

Once students were able to go home, the pipes began working again, but in overdrive. The sinks in the science rooms were shooting water out at an unstoppable rate, and they overflowed onto the floor. Thankfully the science rooms have emergency drains for the chemical showers, and they were able to empty the rooms of all water.

Despite it being a frantic day within an even more tumultuous week, all problems within the building were fixed so that students and staff members could return to school the next day, if the weather held up.

With the always-changing weather, people here have learned to roll with the punches and adapt to change well. By adding a few building mishaps to the list of interesting events here, most people at HB have come to expect the unexpected. What better way to ring in the new year?

This poll will be a way to include the opinions of anyone who reads this piece. There are the opinions and recollections of events from four students in the article, and with this poll, people can tell their stories of that day.