Maplewood Police and Fire Schools / Kids South Orange Towns

Columbia HS Briefly Evacuated Wednesday after Report of Smoke Odor

Columbia High School was briefly evacuated Wednesday morning because of a strong smoke odor, according to the Maplewood Fire Department.

Shortly before 11 a.m., a school administrator noticed the smell of smoke near Parker Avenue and the school contacted the fire department. Students were evacuated while firefighters investigated the cause.

“The exact source was not detected,” Deputy Chief Walter Nugent told Village Green. “The odor was stronger outside,” leading firefighters to conclude the odor was not emanating from inside the school, but was perhaps due to contractors working in the area.

Students were returned to school at around 11:18 a.m., according to an email from the district.

The call was what firefighters refer to as “a good intent call,” Nugent said. “[Administrators] did the right thing.”

Here is the full email sent by the district:

CHS Community:

Today, Columbia High School was evacuated at approximately 11:05AM when a strong smell of smoke was noticed on the Parker Avenue side of the building. Students and staff were safely evacuated as a precaution while the fire department investigated.

The Maplewood Fire Department deemed it safe for our return at approximately 11:18AM and the instructional schedule for the day resumed.

As always, student safety remains a top priority in our district. We are grateful to the Maplewood Fire Department for their quick response and assistance.

Thank you!

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