Catonsville MIddle School students were moved to Westchester Elementary School after reports of a "potential gas leak"
Thirty students at Catonsville Middle School were evaluated Friday morning after an “unusual odor” was detected at the school, said Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost. No students were transported to medical facilities.
The fire department determined that there was no hazard at 2:15 p.m. and began clearing the scene.
Fire Director Timothy Rostowski said Friday afternoon he did not know the cause of the strange odor.
“We put every conceivable meter we have through that building and it found nothing,” Rostowski said.
Whatever the source, the odor dissipated on its own, Rostowski said. “It's kind of a mystery.”
In a letter sent home to parents, school officials said they were made aware of an odor at about 10:15 a.m. The building was evacuated, and the Baltimore County Fire Department was called.
The department investigated and gave the “all clear,” the letter said. After re-entering the building, however, students “experienced some discomfort,” and the school made the decision to empty the school and walk students to nearby Westchester Elementary School. While there, the students were fed lunch while waiting for dismissal, the letter said.
Students from Catonsville Middle, which has an enrollment of 859 students, were dismissed from Westchester Elementary at 1 p.m. All after-school and evening activities at Catonsville Middle School were canceled.
Jen Turner, a Catonsville Middle parent with two students who attend the school and who was standing in line outside to pick up her children, said she thought the school was doing the best it could, especially given the number of students involved.
“Luckily, we have Westchester right here, the kids aren’t stuck outside,” Turner said.