Emergency crews respond to fire alarm, then suicide threat

Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 7:14 PM
More than 600 students were evacuated from Montezuma-Cortez High School on Friday morning after a fire alarm was triggered by smoke from a cooking class. There were no fire or injuries, the school said.

Two incidents kept local emergency crews busy on Friday.

About 10 a.m., a fire alarm triggered an evacuation at Cortez-Montezuma High School. More than 600 students and all staff were safely evacuated outside, said Principal Jason Wayman.

The alarm was triggered by smoke from a cooking class, he said, and there were no injuries or fire. The students returned to class after about 10 minutes.

“We were actually planning a fire drill for later today, so staff and students were able to go through our procedures with a live incident,” Wayman said. “It went smoothly.”

Fire crews from the Cortez Fire Protection District responded to the incident and determined there was no threat.

Later in the day, about 2 p.m. Montezuma County Sheriff deputies deployed spike strips on Colorado Highway 184 Friday afternoon to stop a northbound vehicle driven by a man reported to have threatened suicide and had a firearm, reported Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

A concerned relative alerted law enforcement to the situation and described the vehicle and direction of travel, he said.

When the man approached sheriff deputies and spike strips set up near Road 30, he stopped and met with officers, Nowlin said.

“He volunteered to be taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital for evaluation,” he said. “Mental health services from Axis Health System are being provided for this individual.”

Traffic in both directions of the highway was delayed temporarily.