Bloom high, middle schools evacuated because of welding smoke

Last updated: August 29, 2019 - 11:51am

BLOOMSBURG — Smoke from ongoing construction work on a new learning center prompted a brief evacuation of Bloomsburg Area high and middle schools on Thursday morning.

Welders began installing new ceiling beams for a room between two gym areas when smoke began seeping into a gym locker room where a class was underway about 9:20 a.m., according to Bloomsburg Fire Lt. Todd Davis.

The gym teacher pulled a fire alarm as heavy smoke became visible and an estimated 800 students and staff were told to leave the schools as the fire department was summoned to ventilate the gymansium, Davis said.

Everyone was allowed back inside about 20 minutes later.

“The weather cooperated. The students got 15 minutes in the sunshine and everyone was well behaved,” said Davis, who is also a high school science teacher.

School superintendent Donald Wheeler notified parents by email that student safety remains a top priority for school staff and administrators.

“Our faculty, staff and students did an outstanding job responding to the fire alarm and all should be commended for their quick and responsive action,” Wheeler told parents.

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