Paradise Canyon Elementary Parent Praises Staff's Organization During Fire Evacuation

A janitor reacts quickly and douses an electrical fire.

A small electrical fire at Paradise Canyon Elementary in La Canada Flintridge caused the school to be evacuated on Friday afternoon. The following email is from Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney:

I’m a parent of a student at PCE and happened to be at the school volunteering when the fire occurred.  I also happen to be a deputy district attorney who specializes in prosecuting arson cases - strange coincidence.  

Shortly after the alarm went off I went to the utility closet where the fire occurred to see if I could help.  It was a very small fire behind an electrical panel on the wall.  A maintenance worker named Javier had put it out with a fire extinguisher almost immediately.  By the time the engine and truck from Station 82 arrived the fire was already extinguished.  Javier should be praised for his cool head and quick reaction.  

I have to say that the staff at PCE were excellent during the fire.  Within 5 minutes or less of the fire alarm sounding they had the entire student body evacuated to the lower field on the east side of the school.  The staff were extremely well organized and it was gratifying as parent and as someone who often works with police and fire to see their professionalism. 

There was almost no disruption to the school schedule since today was a “collaboration day” and school was scheduled to be let out at 12:45. 

I heard later that several students and some staff heard an explosion at the time the fire started. It was described to me as sounding like a single gunshot.  A staff member related to me that they had heard that a transformer had exploded causing the fire.  That information is only third hand, however, and I can’t confirm its accuracy.


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