Alleged prank prompts evacuation at NEHS

Northeast News
April 10, 2013

Northeast High School was evacuated this morning at about 7:30 after a construction worker on a forklift drove over something under the ground’s surface that began to bubble and steam. The driver of the forklift stopped and called school security to the scene to inspect the steaming and bubbling mud. At roughly the same time inside the school, someone complained of smelling a “foul odor” similar to natural gas. School officials then summoned the fire department and began to evacuate the school.

District buses arrived and transported students to another location while police and fire officials investigated the steaming, bubbling mud in the construction area. Firemen dug in the area that was steaming and uncovered about six to eight chunks of dry ice that had been buried roughly four to five inches under the surface in the construction area. Dry ice, when mixed with water and air causes a chemical reaction that makes it steam and bubble, much like a cauldron. Fire officials simultaneously searched the interior of the school for any sign of natural gas leaks but found nothing. One fire official at the scene indicated that the incidents were probably unrelated and the buried dry ice may have been a prank given the end of the school year is approaching.

The all-clear was given by fire officials just after 8 a.m. and students were expected back at the school later in the morning.

Photos by Michael Bushnell

Here’s a closer look at the bucket of dry ice.

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