Smoke causes brief evacuation at Southampton Middle Tuesday

A report of smoke coming from the roof forced a brief evacuation of Southampton Middle School in Bel Air Tuesday.

Around 2:30 p.m., the Harford County 911 Center dispatched fire equipment to the school in the 1200 block of Moores Mill Road to investigate a report of smoke coming from the roof.

The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company responded; however, the first emergency responder to the scene reported no fire or smoke evident upon arrival, according to monitored broadcasts.

Meanwhile, students and staff were evacuated and stood outside in the warm afternoon sunshine, while a fire crew climbed around on the roof but found nothing. The fire units left a short time later.

The smoke originated in a fan on the roof of the building, according to Teri Kranefeld, director of communications for Harford County Public Schools.

"The bearings in the fan locked up, causing the smoke," Kranefeld said in an e-mail Tuesday evening. "Students remained outside while the smoke was cleared from the building. After the fire department deemed the building safe, students returned to class."

The school system's facilities department remained on site to make repairs, Kranefeld said.

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