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Vintage High Evacuated in Power Malfunction

A Napa fire captain has high praise for Vintage High School staffers who safely evacuated 1,800 students after smoke started blowing into two buildings at around noon Tuesday. The trouble was traced to heating and ventilation units affected by a power m

Where there's smoke, there isn't always fire.

That was the good news Tuesday at Vintage High School in Napa, which was evacuated at around noon after smoke was reported in two buildings there.

City and county firefighters arriving in seven engines were met in front of the school by principal Mike Pearson, who told them there was no active fire, said Napa Fire Department captain Jim Pope.

"Two HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) roof units were overheating and blowing smoke" into the Vintage gym and activities building, Pope said.

The roof-mounted units apparently had been affected by a recent power brownout that hit the campus, Pope said: "PG&E was on the scene already."

The brownout altered the power flowing to the HVAC units, causing their motors to burn out, Pope explained.

"The smoke pretty much cleared on its own," but fire personnel remained on campus for about an hour searching buildings and checking the rest of the roof-mounted units as a precaution, he said. 

"The school had already been evacuated," Pope said, with 1,800 students moved to the safety of the Vintage playing field.

"The staff there did an awesome job of evacuating the students and protecting them," Pope said. "It made our jobs easier."

At around 1 p.m. firefighters declared the area clear and students were permitted to go to classes and lunch.

"There were all good outcomes," Pope said.

A total of 25 people responded to the Vintage call, he said.

For all our latest fire coverage, please see our Fire Watch topic page at napavalley.patch.com/topics/Fire-Watch.

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Belle (Orchid Lady) December 04, 2012 at 10:11 PM
=) no mention of them being unable to pull the fire alarm? Glad everyone is OK! Thanks for your report Louisa, you're a gem.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) December 04, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Thanks, Belle! Jim Pope's the gem, he gave me the deets on his way back from the school. The Vintage episode coincided neatly with the noon swearing-in at City Hall of the newly elected and reelected officials, followed by lots and lots of cake from La Toque. Photos to come.
Belle (Orchid Lady) December 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Ooh cake! =)
Belle (Orchid Lady) December 04, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I love LA Toque, too bad I can't afford to eat there often. I'm thinking of becoming a food critic...perhaps then I would be able to write off the cost of food as a business expense? Hmmm....
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Thanks Belle - Jim Pope said the fire department will check the alarm to be sure it is working correctly.

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