NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– All those school fire drills came in handy in Norwich Tuesday.
Three hundred students and staff did what they had prepared for when smoke filled the main office at Thomas W. Mahan Elementary.
Dep. Chief Keith Milton with the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Company tells News 8, “upon arrival they found a smoke condition in the office area in the principal office area.”
Firefighters say an air conditioning unit started smoking at about 12:30 p.m. The fire alarm was pulled and students were evacuated. Parents were notified by phone.
Leah Malloy who has two children in the school says, “I was concerned about the kids. I actually got a call on my way home from Hartford at the dentist. So I wanted to find out what was going on.”
Some parents picked up their kids.
“People were concerned and we had them come down here. We had a staging location for them,” said Sgt. Johanthan Ley, of the Norwich Police.
Police, fire, and the school were all prepared. The students even had a place to wait with air conditioning.
“They opened their doors to us. The kids sat quietly. The bank was wonderful the Savings Institute,” says Abby Dolliver who is the Superintendent of Schools.
The heat though was a challenge for firefighters who made sure the building was safe for everyone’s return.
Dep Chief Milton says, “it’s a warm day today so hopefully this will be it.”
If needed, the school was going to transport the students to a middle school in the city where they would end their day but fortunately they were able to do that right back in their own classrooms.