False fire alarm bewilders evening students

Andrea Bersaglieri, art faculty, acted decisively by emptying out her students from the classroom for their safety when she heard the sound of the steady pulsing three alarm fire alerts at 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, emanating from outside the life drawing studio.

The alarm ceased 10 minutes later.

Cerritos College Police dispatcher Tom Brush later stated this was a false alarm at the Student Center.

“Campus police were on the scene within 30 seconds. The officers responded quickly because we happened to have been near,” Brush said. “The officers checked the facility to see if the fire pull had been triggered but couldn’t find any evidence of any tampering.”

Bersaglieri was teaching the evening edition of life drawing and acted swiftly by informing her students to collect their handbags and exit.

“This is unscheduled. We have practiced what to do in the event of a fire alarm,” Bersaglieri stated. “In the past they [the fire alarms] have usually been planned for the morning hours.”

While the three alarm alerts rang, close to 50 students throughout the inner quad, between the back of the Student Center and the nearby classrooms could be seen looking around seemingly surprised at the alarm.

As a Cerritos College Police car parked in front of the Student Center, Adrian Mendez, an art education major, said “I’ve never experienced a fire alarm at Cerritos College. When I was at Marco Antonio Firebaugh High School, Lynwood, we used to have these sort of fire alarm practices.”

“This is my first time in this situation and don’t exactly know what or where I’m expected to go,” Maria Venezuela, a third semester photography major, said.

Both students are from Bersaglieri’s life drawing class.

As two police officers and a female employee could be seen checking the back of the food court the alarm ceased. The custodian, who seemed unfazed by the alarm, just continued mopping the floor in the building.

It also didn’t seem to phase the remaining dance class students either as several could be seen behind the closed glass doors chatting away while the alarm continued outside in the cold evening air.