Van Catches on Fire in MacDuffie Parking Lot


Marie Hua

A MacDuffie minivan sitting outside the school’s main building in the parking lot. This is the same model of the minivan that caught on fire; however there are some changes such as the color. Photo by Marie Hua

Mohammed Abbasi, Senior Staff Writer

Around 9:45 PM on November 7, a faulty wire connected to a trailer hitch caused one of The MacDuffie School mini vans in the parking lot to catch on fire, according to Business Manager Andrew Parker.

When sophomores Lyly Hoang and Cassie Nguyen noticed the smell and appearance of smoke on campus, they pulled the fire alarm in order to alert others about it. The students evacuated the building, and firefighters from the Granby Police Department, Granby Fire Department, and Districts 1 and 2 from the South Hadley Fire Department came to the scene promptly. They managed to extinguish the fire. The fire being cleared ensured that all students were safe and that there was no damage done on the property beside the vehicle.

Right before the incident, Assistant Dean of Boarding Lucy Tew was in her apartment located near the end of the arts wing. She received a call from sophomore Henry Liu saying that a van outside had caught on fire. She then informed the students that they should evacuate the building.

“I hear the kids starting to move in the dorms and like heading towards the doors. I went to the dining hall, grabbed the attendance roster that we use, and then went outside,” Tew said.

Sophomore Charlie Nguyen was in his dorm doing his homework when he heard the fire alarm go off.

“We did the fire drills twice already this year, one in the beginning of the year as the borders only, and one as the whole school… we all were prepared,” Nguyen said.

He also said that when evacuating the building, the boarders choose one of the emergency exit doors and grouped together in front of the gym. He believed the fire was not a threat to the students because it was relatively far away from the building and the dorms.  

The vehicle sustained a significant amount of damage and according to Parker, the vehicle cannot be repaired. Instead, the school will get the amount of money the vehicle was worth before the event, and the school will purchase a new one.

“It was purchased as a used vehicle; it was 2 years old when we bought it. We had owned it for approximately 3 weeks,” Parker said.

Tew said, “[the students] evacuated super well, I was really proud of that, and then the ones that pulled the alarm and called the duty phone, because there were three of them; two who pulled the alarm, and one who called me. That was awesome, it was exactly what you needed to do.”

The emergency exit procedure went accordingly, resulting in all the students being accounted for and grouped together in the right spot. There were no injuries reported, and all the students are confirmed to have been safe from the fire.