LINCOLN – A Mattanawcook Academy student was charged and suspended from school for 10 days Friday for allegedly setting a false fire alarm that forced the school’s evacuation the same day.The student, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, will be charged with setting a false public alarm, a Class D misdemeanor, Officer Chad Chubbuck of the Lincoln Police Department, who is investigating the incident, said Friday. The alarm sounded at 12:20 p.m., and the Lincoln Fire Department sent two engines and nine firefighters, several speeding to the scene in their own vehicles, engineer Dave Slomienski of the Lincoln Fire Department said.
A student reported seeing the suspect pull the alarm and reported the suspect to school officials, Chubbuck said. The suspect also confessed to pulling the alarm.
The high school students were evacuated and forced to wait outside the school for about 40 minutes.
Principal Jim Boothby and Superintendent Michael Marcinkus followed school procedure and immediately suspended the student for the false alarm, the first that the school has had in at least three years, Boothby said.
Marcinkus is awaiting reports from Boothby and police before making a further disciplinary recommendation to the SAD 67 board of directors.
The superintendent said Friday, however, that he expects to take a very hard line when the board meets Nov. 8.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable,” Marcinkus said Friday of the false alarm. “You’re talking about a potential risk of injury to people exiting the building, to firefighters responding from the Fire Department.”
“The last thing you want is a firetruck wailing up and down the streets when it doesn’t have to be,” Boothby said.
If the student is found guilty, he or his family likely will face a hefty fine, Slomienski said. By way of comparison, the Fire Department charges $300 an hour to handle out-of-town emergencies, and with the $300 due at the end of the first quarter-hour, $600 would be the likely charge for such a false alarm.
The student conceivably could face up to a year’s suspension. Marcinkus said he did not know the range of punishment typically meted out in such cases in SAD 67, which covers Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag. This is his first false-alarm allegation at SAD 67.