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Firetrucks roll to new Cedar Bluff Elementary School
Steamer sets off fire alarm

Cedar Bluff Elementary School quickly overcame a snag in operation on students’ third day in the new school building.

Before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, steam in the kitchen set off a fire alarm and Rural/Metro responded as teachers were evacuated and students restricted from entering the building.

“What happened was, the steamers were used for the first time in the cafeteria, and so the steamers set off the alarm and Rural/Metro came to check everything,” said Susan Davis, a principal at Cedar Bluff.

“The kitchen is new. It has a hood system to evacuate steam from where they’re cooking, but apparently, it wasn’t moving the steam out quickly enough to keep the fire alarm from tripping,” said Chief Jerry Harnish with Rural/Metro Fire Department.

Davis and Richard Ward, co-principals at Cedar Bluff Elementary, stated the steam hoods were not malfunctioning; it was simply a first-use glitch.

Davis said the cafeteria was constructed this year as part of phase II construction of the elementary school. Before this, neither Cedar Bluff Primary or Intermediate had a cafeteria; students ate in their classrooms.

Wednesday was the third day students at Cedar Bluff Elementary had eaten in a cafeteria.

According to Harnish, two engines reached Cedar Bluff in about four minutes.

“It’s only a few minutes from the station, and they came from the station, so no more than three or four minutes at the outside,” Harnish said of Rural/Metro’s quick response.

Harnish was unsure which alarm tripped in the kitchen, since the cafeteria had both smoke and temperature detectors.

“All those schools have pretty sophisticated alarm systems … If the steam was thick enough, that by itself could trip a smoke alarm, if it was a photo-electric type,” he added.

Davis was pleased with the quick response of students and the fire department, but even more pleased there was not a real emergency.

“Thank goodness there was not a fire … and we’ve got this taken care of,” Davis said.

Cedar Bluff Elementary currently houses more than 950 of its total 1,171 students. Fifth grade students still attend class at Cedar Bluff Intermediate. Phase III of construction on the elementary school, including a wing for fifth grade students, will be completed next year.


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