Huff Elementary School in Elgin Evacuated For HazMat Emergency
Firefighters and school officials briefly evacuated Huff Elementary School in Elgin on Thursday morning in response to a report of a possible hazardous material vapor leak.
According to an Elgin Fire Department news release, emergency personnel responded at about 9:08 a.m. Thursday (Nov. 1, 2018) to the school at 801 Hastings St. to find activated alarms sounding in the basement.
Elgin Fire Department Battalion Chief Timothy Michaels said the school’s engineering staff checked the area with monitors and confirmed an unusual odor and that the alarms were functioning properly.
“They believed it was a refrigerant leak causing the problem,” Michaels said in the news release.
Elgin fire units arrived on scene within five minutes of the alarm, investigated the basement area and evacuated the school.
Firefighters upgraded the alarm to a “Hazardous Material Level 2″ response, which brought HazMat technicians and a specialized equipment response from Elgin and South Elgin fire departments to the scene.
U-46 staff brought in school buses to keep the children out of the weather as fire crews worked on the problem, Michaels said.
After a thorough investigation, the HazMat technicians determined that the cause of the alarm did not occur because of a hazardous vapor release. The area was thoroughly ventilated, and the air quality monitored, the news release said.
Once officials determined it was safe, children were allowed to go back into school and resume their studies.
There were no injuries reported by the students, faculty or emergency response personnel.
“Elgin Fire Chief David Schmidt would like to thank the U-46 faculty and staff for their professional response to this potentially serious condition,” the news release said.
SOURCE: Elgin Fire Department news release