MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Columbia High School was evacuated briefly this morning due to a detected smoke odor at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The fire department checked the building while students and staff waited outside, and the police blocked the area of Valley Street by the high school.
Fred Smith of TAPinto SOMA witnessed the evacuation and reported that the students and staff waited outdoors without incident while the Fire Department inspected the building.
An email from Elizabeth Aaron, Principal of Columbia High School, stated that the evacuation lasted for 40 minutes, and was "due to a burning odor in several classrooms." Aaron's email also confirmed that "the source was identified by Maplewood Fire Department members, and the building was cleared our alarms were reset as per emergency procedures before we re-entered the building to resume our day."
Principal Aaron's full email can be found here.
Students and staff were able to re-enter the building at approximately 12:10 p.m., and Columbia High School students were dismissed for the day at 12:30 p.m., an already scheduled four-hour session, as Back to School Night takes place tonight.