School Shuts Down After Teacher Notices Odd Smell, Hazmat Team’s Find Is Beyond Embarrassing

Updated October 10, 2017

When October comes around, people start buying pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. It is cool to be into pumpkin spice café lattes and candies. But one of the most popular pumpkin spice items is pumpkin spice air fresheners and candle scent. But when a strange scent started floating through a Baltimore area high school, worried administrators and teachers called in a professional hazardous materials team to make sure the institution wasn’t infiltrated by terrorists or something dangerous. But when the hazmat team arrived, they discovered that the source of the “dangerous” smell was actually just a pumpkin spice air freshener.

After calling in the emergency hazardous materials team, the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School posted a statement on their website explaining that students first noticed the “strange odor” on the school’s third floor at about 2:30pm on Thursday October 5.

“At approximately 2:30 PM today, students on the third floor of Healy Hall reported a strange odor. Principal Reap activated the School Emergency Plan and students and staff were safely evacuated. Once outside, students were provided access to restrooms and water. Emergency personnel, including the HAZMAT team of the Baltimore City Fire Department, quickly arrived to assess the safety of our students and the building. Emergency medical technicians evaluated several staff members and students, some of whom were treated on the scene. Five members of our community were transported to area hospitals as a precautionary measure. After extensive testing, the BCFD determined that the building was safe.”

Because the school didn’t know what was causing the terrible odor, they evacuated the school. And then emergency personnel rushed in including the Baltimore City Fire Department’s hazmat team. School officials did not know if there was a chemical leak or a bomb planted in the building. Because student lives were at stake, they didn’t want to risk it. The 911 call was placed.

When the fire department entered the school wearing full hazmat uniforms, they found the source of the smell was a pumpkin spice air freshener.

“This plug-in air freshener that basically puts out the odor every so many seconds, and it’s a pumpkin spice, and that’s exactly what, if you go in there, you can smell, so it has been identified. It is not hazardous at all,” Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark told WBAL-TV.

Unfortunately not all pumpkin spice items smell good. This one was foul enough to warrant a call to the Baltimore City Fire Department.

“It’s always best to take precaution, call 911, let us — we are the experts — come in and make sure that everything is safe, so we have no problem with them making this call. I know it’s a lot of equipment that you see around here, a lot of firefighters that are working on this incident; however, we want to make sure that these students and teachers are all safe,” Clark said.

Do you think the school was right to call 911 because of the pumpkin spice air freshener? Is it better to be safe than sorry in this type of situation?