HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Jones Magnet Middle School in Hampton was evacuated Thursday morning because of a fire in one of the restrooms.
“Oh, it’s very scary especially when you don’t know what’s going on,” said parent Debbie Wallace.
The school asked the parents to pick up their children at Kecoughtan High School as soon as possible. Shoulder-to-shoulder, parents wrapped around the Hampton high school.
“Friends and family called me and told me there was breaking news that Jones Middle school caught fire,” added grandparent Toni Taylor.
Officials say the fire started in a trashcan in the boys bathroom. It caused smoke to billow into the hallways, prompting officials to evacuate the school.
“You never like interrupt the school day, but the safety of our students and staff is most important so we took the actions to ensure that,” said Diana Gulotta with Hampton Schools.
The fire was quickly put out, but officials decided to bus the kids over to Kecoughtan High.
“A friend of mine called and said breaking news to get up to school to get your child,” Wallace added. “I’m shaking.”
Just the thought of a fire in a school was enough to leave every parent feeling that way.
“I panicked,” Taylor said. “I’m a grandparent. I panicked. It was real scary, because I didn’t know what was going on and how big a fire it was when I got the message. It thought it was a really huge fire.”
According to Sgt. Jason Price with Hampton Police, there were actually three incidents at Jones Magnet Middle School Thursday. It all began around 11 a.m., when police received a call about a man with a gun near the school. Police put the school on a modified lockdown. Officers found the man in question and determined he legally had the gun, and released him.
Then, police say the school experienced the fire in a bathroom trash can. While they were evacuating a teacher notified a Hampton Police officer that there was a child on school property with a gun. After a brief search, they found a 13-year-old with a BB gun in his backpack, on campus. The Jones Magnet student has been charged with having a weapon on school property.