PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A Pflugerville High School student who police say set an “object” on fire in the school’s bathroom Tuesday morning is charged with first-degree arson.
The Pflugerville Fire Department responded to the school around 8:45 a.m., just before class started. All staff and students were evacuated and sent to the nearby football field for several hours and were moved to the school’s gym at around 12:30 p.m. The incident was given the all clear around 1:20 p.m.
Sophomore Vivienne Falcon described the school day and evacuation protocol as chaotic. She said some students tried jumping over the fences to get home.
“It’s like boiling hot outside and everybody is calling their parents,” Falcon said. “Everybody is kind of freaking out. Stuff like this just happens all of a sudden and you’re not really prepared for it.”
Pflugerville ISD Communications Officer Steve Scheffler said while the event disrupted the normal schedule, it was not an option to cancel school.
“Because of bus situations and students arriving home with no one there, it’s just a difficult situation,” Scheffler said, “but we wanted to make sure our students were safe and that was our first priority.”
The suspect student was taken to Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center. Police are calling it an isolated incident but will continue investigating.
The district’s Police Chief Jason Smith said the school practices emergency evacuations monthly with its students and “probably most of them just thought this was just a drill.”
Falcon said despite the monthly drills, the school should have been more prepared.
“In these cases we practice for it and it’s like a five minute drill,” Falcon said, “but in real life it’s never five minutes.”
No one was injured in the fire. The district says some parents chose to pick up their children during the incident, adding that Wednesday will be a regular school day.