🔴 Firefighters came to the school around 9:40 a.m. after a smell permeated the third floor

🔴 School was dismissed for the day

🔴 Four students were hospitalized and 39 were examined at the scene

*Story updated throughout*

Pentucket Regional Middle High School in West Newbury was evacuated Monday morning after an odd smell in a third floor science lab during a 7th grade class.

The West Newbury Fire Department was called to the school around 9:40 a.m.according to Chief Michael Dwyer.  The school was evacuated after several students felt nauseous, Boston 25 News reported. Students were sent home for the rest of the day as a hazmat team responded to the school.

An initial investigation has determined the smell to be a refrigerant leak from a rooftop HVAC unit. The unit was shut off, and the district’s licensed HVA contractor will confirm a leak occurred and provide necessary repairs.

All after-school activities and sports have been canceled for the day.

Dwyer said four students was hospitalized for symptoms related to nausea and throat irritation. 39 students checked over at the scene. The hazmat team will remain at the school for most of the day and has not yet determined the source of the smell.

Students told WCVB reporter Sera Congi that the smell has an oil or gas quality.

The school opened in September and houses both the middle and high school.

Response to a smell at Pentucket Middle HIgh School 5/1/23
Response to a smell at Pentucket Middle HIgh School 5/1/23 (West Newbury Fire Department)


Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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