Odors cause school evacuation twice

Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

j a-W fire call firemen search books.tif

Akron firefighters weren’t looking for books to read but were searching for signs of a fire after school Oct. 3. They narrowed their search to this area of the school library where it was later learned some carpenter work had been done shortly before this.

A nose knows.

At least at Akron-Westfield Community School, staff’s noses do.

On Sept. 20, administration let students go home early as a gas odor permeated the school building.

Officials from natural gas provider MidAmerican Energy checked the facility out for more than two hours but didn’t find a natural gas leak causing the smell.

According to A-W Grades 7-12 Principal Derek Briggs, the smell still hasn’t been pinpointed as of Monday, however, school administration and contractors installing a new heating system in the elementary area believe this smell may be caused by their installation procedures and not a gas leak.

On Oct. 3, Akron firefighters were called about 4:30 p.m. to investigate smoke which was smelled in the school library and adjacent high school hallways.

By about 5 p.m., Akron Fire Chief Shane Coyle gave the “okay” to allow people back into the building.

Later, the smoke smell was determined to have come from a library shelf, said Briggs, explaining a workman had shortened a wooden library shelf support. Using a dull handsaw blade had caused the wood to smolder some and the smoke smell to go throughout the area. The workman had finished and left the building before administration became aware of the smoke smell.

“I really thought the school was on fire,” said Briggs at the scene.

“I’m glad it was not a fire and to find what it was,” he said in a phone interview Monday morning.

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