Car crashes into school, causes fire alarm and evacuation


Photo by Siena Petrosinelli ’25

A car crashes into the culinary classroom before 8 a.m., causing a gas leak and fire alarm, and forcing an evacuation.

A Jeep Wrangler crashed into the culinary department of Staples High School on Wednesday March 1, just before 8 a.m., causing a gas leak, followed by a pulled fire alarm and evacuation out of the building.
No injuries were reported, including the woman driving the car. The causes of the accident have not yet been determined, but are being investigated.
Eliza Walmark ’25 was right next door to the culinary room before school started and witnessed the event.
“I heard a crash, and I thought it was a bunch of pans that were falling,” Walmark said.
She then heard another teacher say that there was a problem and watched Michelle Garrity, Athletic Administrative Assistant of the athletic department, pull the fire alarm.

Students attempt to stay warm while waiting for the fire alarm to cease outside, sounding after the car crash caused a gas leak. (Photo by Anna Kercher ’25)

“I was getting people out of the school, trying to evacuate it because we smelled gas,” Walmark said.
The building was determined safe to reenter at 8:25 a.m., and classes continued as usual. The fieldhouse wing was reopened after second period, but the two culinary classrooms were not reopened until Thursday, the day after the accident.
The Westport Fire and Police departments were quick to respond and arrived at the scene where they took necessary measures, including dealing with the gas leak and the crashed car. According to News 12, the gas inside of the culinary department was quickly turned off, and Southern Connecticut Gas Company assisted with repairs as well.
The fire alarm sounding while students were arriving to school left many discombobulated.
“I was just confused,” Wren Slavin ’25 said. “The alarm was going off and everyone was moving around, so I just had to follow people and ended up back at the front of the school.”
Other students were closer to the area of the crash at the time and were able to configure more details.

The Jeep that crashed into the school is towed away after students are allowed to reenter the building. (Photo by Anna Kercher ’25.)

Ben Larsson ’23 was in the cafeteria when the alarm sounded.
“A friend of mine saw that part of the window was bent inwards,” Larsson said. “Then, we saw the car like halfway in the building. By that point everyone thought there was a gas leak or something because it was culinary, so everyone was pretty panicked.”