Bathroom Fires Lead to School Evacuation

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  • Burnt paper towels sit in a melted trash can.

  • Ash is scattered on the toilet seat.

  • A sign marks the bathroom where the second trashcan fire was set.

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A student set fire to the contents of the trashcan in the D1306 bathroom Wednesday afternoon. After being told to go to their alpha-office, the student then proceeded to set fire to the E1207 bathroom. Smoke from the second fire spread throughout the school, triggering the fire alarm and prompting the evacuation of the school.

“I can’t say anything about what happened, but I can tell you nothing was damaged and no one was injured,” a school resource officer said.

The evacuations caused interruptions for several students, including Angela Ignatius ‘19, who was taking a Precalculus test when the alarm sounded.

“The test was really hard and we had not even started it,” Ignatius said, “My teacher was really worried about us cheating.”

Journalism students were preparing to leave for a conference after school.

“All our luggage is the room,” adviser Lanie Catuogno said while standing outside. “If we can’t get back in, it’s going to be a problem.”

Students remained outside for about 20 minutes before the all-clear was given.

Principal Mario Acosta sent an email to parents to inform them about the event, stating that “the student responsible has been identified and appropriate action has been taken.”

Read the full email below:

“Dear Westwood Parents and Guardians:

Students at Westwood were evacuated from the building for a short time today, beginning  at approximately 11 a.m., after the fire alarm was activated due to a small fire in a restroom trashcan. The fire was quickly extinguished, fire department and district administration responded immediately and the incident was thoroughly investigated.  Students were permitted to re-enter at approximately 11:20 a.m. The student responsible has been identified and appropriate action has been taken.

The safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to take every precaution in keeping Westwood a safe learning environment. Our students and staff did a tremendous job responding to the alarm, evacuating, and re-entering the building in a calm, orderly manner. If you have any questions, please call me at (512) 464-4000. Thank you for your continued support.


Mario Acosta