VIDEO: High School Evacuated After Water Leaks Into Electrical Room

Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School was evacuated less than a half hour before school is typically dismissed on Monday when water began leaking in to the electrical room.

Students were evacuated from on Monday after water began leaking into the school’s electrical room.

The school had about 15 leaks in the roof that were leaking most of the day, according to Assistant Superintendent Peter Gray. But the fire alarm was pulled and school was evacuated when students and staff detected an “electrical burning smell they couldn’t ignore” close to the end of the school day.

The evacuation happened at about 2 p.m., just 20 minutes before school is typically dismissed. At first, the parking lot was being blocked, which caused traffic to backup on Bay Road.

Firefighters inside the school quickly redirected the water away from the electrical room.

“That was our main concern,” Chief Phil Stevens said about the electrical room.

Besides that, water was “coming through in several different places,” Stevens said in an interview in the school’s lobby.

Gray said he expected the school to be open on Tuesday after the roof repairs were complete. Not long after the evacuation, workers from Carolla Roofing - the contractor that cleared the school roof of snow earlier this month - were on scene. Once the rain stops, the repairs will begin, Gray said.

Gray said as many as 300 leaks were discovered after snow removal work in early February. Because of the school closure during the removal process, students were in school Tuesday through Friday last week. If school hadn't been held last week, Monday would have been the first day back from February vacation.

"We spent last week scouring the roof for leaks," he said.

None of the leaks that continued on Monday were causing any structural damage to the school, Gray said.

It's yet to be determined how the leak repairs will be paid or how much it will be paid. The cost of last week's work, plus Monday's repairs, have yet to be tallied, Gray said.

"I'm waiting for the bills to come in," Gray said.

Students who were waiting for rides outside the school after the evacuation said they had seen leaks in several places in the school since the start of the day.

For example, water was coming through a sprinkler head and light in the high school lobby on Monday afternoon. After the evacuation, some students were being escorted back into the building by Principal Matt Fox and Assistant Principal Bryan Menegoni to retrieve their belongings.

Since the buses were delayed leaving the parking lot at the middle school and high school - Gray said he wasn't sure exactly what caused the delay - the elementary bus routes were also delayed by about a half hour.


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