West Bathroom Fire

Mason McGrew

An attempt at giving West High School students an early Thanksgiving break leaves one student facing charges of terrorism.

On Wednesday at 10:57 A.M., Anchorage Fire Department received a call of a boys bathrooms at West set ablaze. The fire department took no chance showing up in 11 fire units. Once they entered they proceeded down the halls to the boys science wing bathroom, where smoke was already seeping through the doorframe.

Upon entering the bathroom, firefighters were faced with a thick black cloud of smoke spanning from floor to ceiling. Firefighters proceeded to check the wall with thermal imaging camera to make sure the fire was not spreading through the walls but, “schools aren’t meant to burn,” said fire captain Chad Richardson

The fire was found to be set inside a toilet paper dispenser attached to the wall, but was put out by emergency sprinklers before it had a chance to spread. The bathrooms white walls are stained black from smoke damage, a hole in the wall is left from where the toilet paper dispenser was forced from the wall, and steam damage is  “leaving the bathroom pretty beat up!” exclaimed Zach Winters.

The 15-year-old freshman has been charged as a minor and faces a second-degree criminally negligent burning charge, a misdemeanor, and a first degree terroristic threatening charge, and now has been released to his parents, said police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. The A.S.D. is unsure if they want to enforce any punishments on him yet.

“Once evacuated from the school we had to go sit in the auditorium for about an hour before going back to class,” said Alec Hernandez.  There were no students affected by the smoke, and were returned to class once it was deemed safe by fire captain Chad Richardson.