Spanish Springs HS Fire Sprinkler Leads to Evacuation

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SPANISH SPRINGS, NV-- Nerves have calmed after school officials confirm there never was an explosion Friday morning at Spanish Springs High School. As it turns out, the loud noise heard just before school started was a fire sprinkler.

The story developed and changed throughout the day. Police first said it was an explosion in a vending machine, then a suspicious package, and finally police said it was a fire sprinkler that caused all the commotion.

20 minutes before the first bell, a loud bang inside the southwest hallway led to evacuations.

"The report we got is it came in to us as a vending machine exploded," said Tracy Moore, emergency manager for the Washoe County School District.

Smoke and sparks are seen coming from the machine, and water starts to flow from a nearby fire sprinkler.

"They found that suspicious item behind that vending machine and we took all precautionary measures," said Moore.

It was a backpack; police don't know how it's related but the bomb squad rushes in to investigate.

Meanwhile, students are ushered safely to the football field; school buses with a police escort arrive and take them out of harm's way.

Back inside, the morning's events are starting to come into focus. Police determined there was no bomb at all, not even an explosion. The fire sprinkler thought to be a secondary event is declared the cause.

"My understanding is that there was a backpack that was hung on one of the sprinkler heads. When a student took the backpack down, it activated the sprinkler head," said Tasha Fuson, principal at Spanish Springs High School.

It went off with such pressure, it created a loud noise. Then all that water got into the vending machine, causing it to short out which created the sparks and the smoke.

Left over was a big mess, the sprinkler left one wing of the school flooded.

"Luckily it does not look like there is much damage, we will be up and running for school on Monday," said Fuson.

The clean-up effort started immediately, Belfor restoration was brought in to dry out the Sheetrock and carpets. The sooner that happens, the less chance of problems later on.