12/09/2011 08:43 am ET

Squirrel Sets Off Fire Alarm At Ellenton, Fla., Elementary School (VIDEO)

It sounds nutty but a mischievous squirrel almost caused an elementary school in Ellenton, Fla., to be levied with a heavy fine for a false fire alarm.

The incident happened last year at Blackburn Elementary in Ellenton, Fla., and, initially, officials thought a student may be responsible for setting off the alarm, according to

It was actually a really screwy squirrel who had taken up residence in the school kitchen where the alarm had been triggered.

By reviewing school security cameras, the investigators discovered a video showing the squirrel scaling the wall about five feet, then hanging onto the lever to set off the fire alarm, reported.

"We didn’t have to pay any fines for a false alarm once the fire department realized the little guy was the culprit," Todd Henson, director of maintenance and operations for Manatee County Schools, told "It's really hard to fine a squirrel, so he got a stern lecture and was released outside."

The squirrel was eventually trapped and let go.

Though the incident happened last year, the now-legendary rodent's actions are being used now by the Manatee County School District as an example of why the district maintenance department needs a contingency fund, according to

During a recent meeting, an official from the district maintenance department pointed out that almost anything can happen at any time in a school district with 44,000 students and 60 schools. That would include fires, hurricanes, and, yes, even a squirrel who pulled a fire alarm.

For other bizarre animal stories, check out our Animals In The News gallery:



Animals In The News