Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener Causes School Evacuation - Opposing Views

Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener Causes School Evacuation

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A high school in Baltimore was evacuated after students and teachers noticed a strange smell. After five people were taken to the hospital and the building was evacuated, firefighters discovered the source of the smell: a pumpkin spice air freshener.

Students on the third floor of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School were hit by a strange smell during classes on Oct. 5. 

At first, some people thought the smell was coming from a burned out light bulb, said Bill Heiser, the school's principal.

"It was a smell that they certainly weren't used to," Heiser said, according to The Baltimore Sun. "It appeared to be getting stronger."

After several students and teachers said they had trouble breathing, the school was evacuated. A hazmat team was called in and ran tests for hazardous materials. All tests came back negative, said Baltimore Fire spokesman Roman Clark, according to The Sun. 

Two students and three adults were taken to the hospital for ailing stomachs, Clark said.

The air freshener was discovered after firefighters began opening windows and placing fans inside the school. 

"This plug-in air freshener that basically puts out the odor every so many seconds, and it's a pumpkin spice, and that's exactly what, if you go in there, you can smell, so it has been identified. It is not hazardous at all," Clark said, according to WBAL.

Heiser isn't so convinced. 

"What they did is also, as a precaution, they used fans to kind of circulate the air, and when they circulated the air, they did smell an air freshener. We don't know [that was] the cause. It certainly wouldn't be uncommon to blow an air freshener and then get that smell," he said, according to WBAL. 

Whether or not the air freshener is to blame, no one regrets the decision to evacuate the school. 

"It's always best to take precaution, call 911, let us -- we are the experts -- come in and make sure that everything is safe," said Clark, according to WBAL. 

Heiser echoed Clark's comment.

"I think the best thing to do, if there's any concern and you have a school of 350 students and you have 50 teachers and staff, is to be safe," he said, according to WBAL. 

The school posted a statement on its website saying that the building was safe and classes would resume on Oct. 6, the day after the evacuation. 

The statement also said that the five people who were taken to the hospital were taken "as a precautionary measure."

Sources: The Baltimore Sun, WBAL / Featured Image: Danielle Scott/Flickr / Embedded Images: Pixabay, Ginny/Flickr

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