A Baltimore high school on Thursday evacuated due to a strange odor that was ultimately revealed as a pumpkin spice air freshener, according to our affiliate WBFF.
WBFF on Thursday reported that fire and hazmat crews were called around 2:30 p.m. local time to Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.
WBALTV 11 on Thursday reported that the school was then evacuated and Eastern Avenue was closed near Chester Street as officials probed the source of the irritant.
Officials said two students and three adults were taken to hospitals with unknown injuries, with one adult suffering an issue unrelated to the incident.
Authorities noted that dozens of students were triaged at the scene, and fire officials eventually discovered a pumpkin spice air freshener was causing the commotion.
“The primary readings we took within the school, we came up with negative readings,” Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark said. “We took a secondary reading, which was also negative throughout the school.”
Crews then began opening windows and placing heavy fans inside the building, only for a firefighter to notice the 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,” Clark said. “It is not hazardous at all.”
Some Twitter users on Friday mocked the incident, which required the evacuation of 350 students and another 50 staff and teachers.
They closed down a high school because of pumpkin spice. The response seems appropriate. https://t.co/xKJFP5Fz2L— Michael (@ebelog) October 6, 2017
Pumpkin spice is terrible Chapter 8,436: Pumpkin spice air freshener prompts hazmat call @ high school in Baltimore: https://t.co/HynX9hTUll— WTVC NewsChannel 9 (@newschannelnine) October 6, 2017
Pumpkin spice air freshener prompts Baltimore high school to be evacuated. That stinks.— Howie Fox (@fabbeatlebob) October 6, 2017
School President Bill Heiser said that students noticed the smell and then some began coughing or struggling with breathing.
“At first, they thought, perhaps, it was a burned-out light bulb, and that was the cause of the smell,” he said.
“What they did also, as a precaution, they used fans to kind of circulate the air, and when they circulated the air, they did smell an air freshener,” Heiser added. “We don’t know that that’s the cause.”
“It certainly wouldn’t be uncommon to blow an air freshener and then get that smell. I think the best thing to do, if there’s any concern and you have a school of 350 students and you have 50 teachers and staff, is to be safe.”