Roberts Theater on fire


On Tuesday, Jan. 7, several firetrucks pulled up to Roberts.

Dean of Students Will Gilyard said that he pulled the fire alarm after discovering a “stage fire” in Roberts theater.

“There was a mechanical malfunction with the stage in Roberts, causing a fire in the control room,” Mr. Gilyard said. “I saw the security guard trying to figure out what was going on, and when we opened the door to the control room, we found white smoke coming out.”

Mr. Gilyard said that it was when they located the smoke that he pulled the fire alarm.“The trucks arrived within an hour,” he said. “And luckily no one was hurt.”

Director of Facilities Larry Marciano explained the cause of the accident. “The wires that receive current from the main elevator room to operate the stage lift became tangled up and disconnected,” he said. “When this happened it caused a short that knocked out the power and caused a plastic circuit board that controls the transformer in the elevator to melt and smoke.”

Mr. Marciano said that there was no fire but only the smell of melting plastic and the smoke from the plastic melting. “The fire department came, and the power was shut down to the unit and the building aired out,” he said.

“All this excitement lasted two hours with no other damage occurring, and at no time was anyone in danger of an injury and no one was harmed.”

Mr. Marciano said that the lift has been repaired and that all wires are appropriately harnessed, confirming that all is well in the theater orchestra pit.

Senior Ben Small said he found the response comforting. “I was with some friends, and we all smelled what appeared to be burning wood,” Ben said. “It’s great that even though the ‘fire’ wasn’t that dangerous, KO and the fire department responded appropriately.”

When the fire trucks drove up, many students were still at their after school commitments and had no idea of what was happening on campus.

“I was at practice when the fire trucks actually came but right when I got out and went into the locker room people were yelling at me to go look at Roberts,” senior Lian Wolman said. “Everyone in the locker room was speculating what was happening but know one really knew the actual reason for the fire trucks’ arrival.”

Some students were in Roberts for their after school activities during this time. “Somebody came into the room and told us we needed to evacuate because of a fire but there were no alarms going off,” senior Maeve McDonald said,  “but, when I started leaving the building, the alarms started going off and I saw the firetrucks drive up.

Junior Esha Kataria said that it got very chaotic. “I was trying to get picked up, but all the entrances were blocked with fire trucks,” she said. “It took like a half an hour for my mom to come get me. But I’m glad they took the proper safety precautions.”

Senior Ali Meizels said she was rehearsing for the musical when the Building and Grounds crew told everyone to leave. “We didn’t know there was a fire but when we left we saw all the fire trucks,” she said.

“It wasn’t scary, just weird.” Thankfully, no one was hurt and school resumed safely the next day. “I’m just happy that everyone was safe and the fire department responded in a timely manner,” Esha said.