Nearby Smoke Forces Seven Oaks Elementary to Briefly Evacuate
Firefighters responded to a small fire at a construction site near the school. Students were removed from the building for about 30 minutes.
Updated: (5:12 p.m.) — Students at Seven Oaks Elementary School were forced to evacuate the building Monday afternoon after a report of smoke in the area, fire and school officials said.
Lt. Keith Hamilton of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said the school was evacuated shortly before 2 p.m. after smoke came from a small fire inside a barrel at a construction site. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokeswoman Moneka Monk said the evacuation lasted about 30 minutes and students have been kept in the gym as a precaution. There are no reports of injuries.
Here is the text of a letter sent to parents from Seven Oaks Principal John Ceschini:
I am writing to let you know about an incident that occurred this afternoon that briefly interrupted our instructional day. At about 1:10 p.m., there was burning smell detected throughout the building.
In response, we immediately contacted the Fire Department and evacuated the entire building.
The Fire Department responded very quickly and investigated for the possible cause of the smell.
After about 30 minutes, part of the building was deemed safe for re-entry. Students were confined to the gym for another 10 minutes before the entire building was declared safe. It was determined
that the burning smell was caused by a barrel in an adjacent community. Hence, the odor of smoke permeated our building by the wind.
In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, a few parents who saw the fire trucks at our building were alarmed by the presence of emergency personnel. I want to assure that we do our very best to
be prepared for any incidents that might occur at our school. Showing great poise, our students and staff remained calm and focused on safety and learning. I want to commend our students and staff for the way they handled this incident. Our students followed evacuation procedures in a prompt and orderly fashion, and our staff carried out their duties professionally.
I cannot stress enough how seriously we take the safety of our students and staff – it is essential to maintaining a secure place for learning. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.