Torched Bulletin Board Forces Evacuation of Berkeley High School

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Berkeley firefighters responded to a small fire caused by a torched bulletin board in a hallway on the second floor of the administration building at Berkeley High School this morning. No one was injured during the incident.

At around 10 a.m., the sprinklers in the hallway were set off by the heat from the fire, triggering the high school's alarm system. Students and staff evacuated the high school upon the sounding of the alarm, half of whom went to school's football field while the other half headed to Civic Center Park on Allston Way, said Mark Coplan, spokesperson for the Berkeley Unified School District.

All the paper was burned off the bulletin board - which had been mounted on the wall of the hallway - but the fire had subsided by the time the Berkeley Fire Department arrived on scene, according to department Capt. Rick Guzman, who led a team of six firefighters. One engine and one truck responded to the school.

Although it is not yet known who was responsible for the fire, Guzman said the Berkeley Police Department is investigating the matter. The building is equipped with a video surveillance system which will be used in the investigation, Guzman said.

"It was definitely an act of vandalism," Coplan said.

Coplan, who was on campus when the incident occurred, said the entire school was evacuated within five minutes.

"It was really, really well executed," he said.

Contact Courtney Moulds at [email protected]

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