School mystery odor deemed harmless; students sent home

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hazmat crews have given the 'all clear' after spending the morning at an elementary school in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia firefighters were called to the Sullivan School around 8:40 a.m. Thursday because of a strong odor in the building.

500 students, teachers, and staff members were kept outside of the school while firefighters looked for the source.

The odor was discovered by the school engineer when he arrived for work this morning. The principal then called the fire department - this all happened before about 500 students and staff entered the building.

The kids and their teachers left the school yard and walked a safe distance away as the fire department began looking for the source of the odor.

The smell was described as a sulfuric odor - kind of like rotten eggs. The Hazmat team took air samples throughout the building and found nothing toxic, nothing flammable and nothing noxious. They also could not find the source of the odor.

The children were moved to the Harding School a few blocks away and from there were sent home.

One parent told Action News, "I just was back there. My kids was coughing from it. So it's a real bad smell...odor."

Teachers say there was no panic and that the evacuation went smoothly.

Kara Anderson, a teacher at the Sullivan School, explains, "We've practiced our fire drills four or five times a year and our principal was, like, really on target early this morning about our plan and everything's turning out to be really organized."

The odor continues to linger, but fortunately it is not harmful and no one needed to be treated due to the fumes. It was just a major inconvenience for the school day.

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