Rain showers down on stage after water pipe breaks in auditorium

The first freeze of the year hit Frisco Friday morning, but on Thursday afternoon it was raining inside the auditorium as a theater tech accident triggered the alarms and sprinklers in the auditorium, leading to an evacuation of the school.

“What happened is that we had an accident in tech theater, and the outcome of the accident was that the emergency sprinkler up above the stage was knocked off which broke the pipe up there, the seal,” principal Ashley Rainwater said. “It began to spew out and since it was the emergency water for fire, it triggered the fire alarm which made us evacuate the school.”

My heart hurts a little,

— Theater director Heather Willingham

Theater director Heather Willingham saw the event unfold as students were trying to take down their set from last week’s performances of Little Women, the Musical.

“We were on the second to last attic piece and we had brought in the batton it was hanging on which is the big pipe that hangs down on their fly system,” Willingham said. “We were removing it and changing out the counter weights so that it could be brought back up safely. We’re really not positive what happened, but the weights were out of balance and the pipe pretty much just flew up and hit the top of the ceiling, which is what caused the water pipe to break. That’s what caused the flooding, so there was no fire.”

Choir was planning to use the auditorium for their winter concert Thursday night, but the water damage has rendered the stage unusable for some time.

“My heart hurts a little,” Willingham said. “I know that there were many fine arts events coming up next week that have been changed around a bit, and everyone’s being real troopers, but it’s a real shame that we have lost the space for that time.”

Specialists will be working for the next week and over winter break to restore the damaged stage and carpeting. Although there are no estimates available on the amount of the damage, it was significant.

“There was a ton of damage in the auditorium,” Rainwater said. “They’ve already pulled up all the floors, trying to extract as much water as they can, their looking at the curtains in there, the lights, all sorts of things that may be damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.”

All sorts of things that may be damaged and need to be repaired or replaced,

— principal Ashely Rainwater

Amongst all the confusion, students and faculty were outside for more than half an hour with temperatures in the 30s. Some students were eventually moved into the field house and third period was let out at 3:10 p.m. instead of its usual time at 2:40 p.m.

“It was terrible because it was cold,” freshman Emma Hancock said. “We were in drill team, so we were wearing our practice outfits, and we didn’t have sweatshirts, so we had to go out there and stand for twenty minutes in the cold.”

Despite all the commotion, all students and staff evacuated the building without issue.

“Everyone handled it well and we were able to make sure the building was safe and the fire department had to sign off that it was safe for kids to come back in,” Rainwater said. “I think everyone was flexible. It was a cold day, It was a miserable day, but everybody kind of hung in a pushed through.”