"Suspicous" fires prompt evacuation

Two fires set at opposite ends of Monroe Township High School, Wednesday, caused an hour-long evactuation but no injuries.

By: Marisa Maldonado
   MONROE — Two simultaneous fires set late Wednesday morning at Monroe Township High School caused an hourlong evacuation of the school, but resulted in no injuries, school officials said.
   The fires, described by police as "suspicious," were found at opposite ends of the high school at 11:20 a.m.
   A jacket was found burning on the second floor of a staircase at the southern end of the school, and a trash can had caught fire in a girls bathroom at the opposite end of the school, police said.
   The two fires were put out immediately by school officials, police said. But officials still evacuated the building so investigators could enter the school, Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said.
   Students and staff first returned to the performing arts center, which was cleared for return before the rest of the school, and went back to their classrooms at around 12:30 p.m., he said.
   "Those areas were secure, and we wanted to get (students) inside," Dr. Ferrie said. "It was a little cold outside."
   Dr. Ferrie gave the students and staff credit for handling the incident well.
   "The students were extremely well organized," he said. "The staff did a great job."
   All three Monroe fire districts and the Monroe First Aid Squad responded to the fires. Police, school officials and a fire inspector from Fire District 3 are investigating the incidents.