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Pumpkin spice scent prompts Baltimore school evacuation

There was an unusual smell Thursday afternoon at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Upper Fells Point. The smell was on the third floor. Students and teachers didn’t know what it was.

“It was a smell that they certainly weren’t used to,” said Bill Heiser, the school’s president, who was off-campus at the time. “It appeared to be getting stronger.”

Several students and teachers reported difficulty breathing, Heiser said.

The school’s principal evacuated the building and the fire department was called. After arriving, the fire department requested a Hazmat team, which ran several tests for hazardous materials. All of them were negative, according to Baltimore fire spokesman Roman Clark.

They took two students and three adults to the hospital for ailing stomachs, Clark said.

Firefighters began to open all the windows in the building to air it out.

Then, Clark said, they located the source of the smell in a third-floor classroom: an aerosol plugin. Flavor: pumpkin spice.

There was no danger, Clark said, but “It’s better safe than sorry.”

Classes at the high school resumed Friday. A statement posted to the school’s website noted that a counselor would be available to talk with students about the event.

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