EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 7, 2014

Teen charged in Sanborn High arson

Sanborn Regional High classes are canceled today

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — KINGSTON — A 15-year-old boy has been charged with arson and another could be charged after a fire closed Sanborn Regional High School yesterday.

A roll of toilet paper was lighted on fire in a second-floor men’s restroom about 11 a.m., sending flames up the wall, fire Chief William Seaman said.

“It charred the entire wall up to the ceiling,” he said.

A school staff member spotted the fire and quickly put in out with a fire extinguisher, but not before it sent smoke throughout the school, according to police Chief Donald Briggs.

The fire triggered an alarm, leading to the evacuation of the school’s approximately 750 students and the staff, principal Brian Stack said.

“My immediate concern was that all students and staff quickly evacuate the building,” Seaman said.

They were led to the school gym to be checked, he said. Two students were feeling ill because of the smoke, but didn’t require medical treatment, he said.

A Kingston firefighter was treated for minor smoke inhalation, he said.

The outcome could have been much worse, Briggs said.

“It was fortunate no one was seriously injured today,” he said. “There was potential for some very serious injury had that fire spread to other areas of the school.”

School buses were called in to transport the students to the former high school, where they remained at Swasey Gymnasium until being dismissed at 1 p.m., he said.

Several fans were used to clear the school of smoke, but there was still a lingering odor on the second floor late yesterday afternoon, Seaman said.

Although Superintendent Brian Blake said the school district’s deliberative session would be held last night as scheduled, school would be canceled today.

Briggs said investigators remained at the school all day and into the evening. Four students were questioned, but two were cleared of wrongdoing.

The police chief said he could not comment on the investigation other than to say the 15-year-old boy was charged with arson and could possibly face other charges.

A second 15-year-old boy was still being questioned yesterday afternoon and may be charged as well, Briggs said.

The names of the teens were not released.

Police and firefighters from several area departments responded to the fire.

There were firefighters from Kingston, Newton and Fremont. An East Kingston ambulance also called to the fire.

Police responded from Kingston, Newton, Fremont, Brentwood and East Kingston. New Hampshire State Police and the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department were also called.

The state fire marshal was called to the scene.