In the end, there was no news — and for all involved, that was good news.
Philomath Fire & Rescue was dispatched on Monday afternoon to Philomath Middle School for a possible structure fire based on the activation of an alarm. Local firefighters raced to the scene to find the building empty of its remaining occupants — students had already left for the day.
“We cleared the building and waited for the fire department,” Philomath Middle School Principal Steve Bell said. “The fire department responded and could not find any cause for the alarm.”
Bell said the school reset the alarm and after it did not sound again, staff re-entered the building.
Capt. Rich Saalsaa of Philomath Fire & Rescue said three factors likely led to the alarm’s faulty activation — dust in the smoke detectors, wind velocity and cold temperatures overnight.
The middle school is located north of Chapel Drive and east of South 19th Street, situated on a road that provides fire lane access.