Tennessee Principal Charged with Failing to Evacuate School After Fire Call

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Chattanooga fire officials have charged a high school principal with failing to pull an alarm and evacuate students and faculty after someone at the school called 911 and reported smoke in the building.

Fire marshal Craig Haney said an assistant fire marshal who happened to be in the area of Hixson High School this morning pulled the alarm.

Haney said there was a smell of smoke but nothing visible though obviously something was burning.

Fire officials said the school was evacuated until firefighters determined nothing was on fire.

Haney said principal Christine Couch was cited for "failure to implement the appropriate emergency plan or procedure," a misdemeanor. A city court hearing is set for October 29th.

Couch could not be reached for comment. However, county education officials said Couch noted an unusual smell but in the absence of any smoke she asked the first firefighters who arrived to let her know if she should evacuate the school.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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