Breaking News: School evacuated following fire in Spirit House restroom


Zainie Qureshi

Dr.Karen Sullivan decided that all schools in IPSD 204 would move to online learning.

Metea Valley students and staff went into a hold-in-place at 9:46 a.m., while juniors completed the ISBE Illinois Science Assessment in the gymnasium. The boys’ bathroom in the Spirit House contained a fire started by a student, and the Aurora Fire Department was called to control the situation.

After the hold-in-place, the fire alarm went off and the building was evacuated at 10:43 a.m. Smoke was visible in the hallways near the bathroom on the first and second floors. The custodial staff assessed the damage and began cleaning the impacted area during the evacuation. Students were allowed back into the building at 11:10 a.m.    

In a recorded phone call to parents, Principal Dr. Darrell Echols said, “The Aurora Fire Department was called due to a student making a poor decision and starting a fire in a restroom. The fire department responded immediately to handle the situation. No students or staff were in any danger.” 

Students and staff waited outside for the all-clear from the Fire Chief. During this time, the Aurora Fire Department investigated the scene, which continued after classes resumed.

While the building was evacuated, students were seen playing with frisbees and getting in their cars. Deans’ assistants reprimanded students who attempted to leave the property.

As a result of the delayed schedule, the school proceeded the day with fourth period, reducing each class to 34 minutes. 

According to the IPSD Student Handbook, arson or attempted arson is a Tier 4 offense, which may result in out of school suspension and a recommendation for expulsion. An official statement has yet to be made on the aftermath of the event from administration or officials. 

School administrators and School Resource Officer Troy Kern are investigating. In a Public Announcement after students reentered the building, Dr.Echols asked that anyone with information concerning the incident contact a staff member or use the 204 Tip Line at