Fire watch ends at Branchville Elementary School

Photo of Peter Yankowski
The Ridgefield Fire Department.

The Ridgefield Fire Department.

Sean McEvoy / Aerial 360 Solutions

Fire crews were on scene at Branchville Elementary School last night — not because of a blaze, but due to a lack of safety lighting during an after-school event.

“The emergency lighting is still not sufficient in several schools,” said fire Chief Jerry Myers. “In some of these cases, the fire watch is required during events that occur after school hours.”

Fire watches use people as a human fire alarm to watch for signs a blaze may be imminent.

The job is more commonly associated with forest fire lookouts, but the practice has been used in Ridgefield schools before.

This spring, the high school had a fire watch in place, also due to its emergency lights.

Myers said there is nothing wrong with the school fire alarms or fire suppression system at Branchville.

“Last night, a fire watch was sent to Branchville School because the school system notified us that there was an evening event taking place,” said Myers. “It turned out that no event took place, and the fire watch was released after being advised by the custodial staff that there was no event taking place

“... Fire watch is not required and does not occur during the overnight hours when a school is empty,” he explained.

Fire police were set up at East Ridge and Scott Ridge middle schools Tuesday to assist with polling traffic coming from the Republican primary.

“[That was] due to the the fact that voting is happening during school hours creating extra traffic,” the chief said.