Hazmat group responds to Turners Falls High School, finds no issues

  • State hazmat workers were called to Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School on Thursday morning in response to a strange odor. They found no dangerous chemicals. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/8/2021 10:38:14 AM

TURNERS FALLS — State hazmat workers were called to Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School on Thursday morning to investigate an unknown odor, which turned out to not be from a dangerous chemical.

According to Turners Falls Fire Chief John Zellmann, his department responded shortly after 7:30 a.m., after school staff members smelled something strange coming from the science classrooms. Students were directed to stay home for the time being.

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services was called after the initial tests conducted by the Turners Falls Fire Department and the Berkshire Gas company did not reveal anything, Zellmann explained.

“We have something, we just don’t know what it is,” Zellmann said at about 11:30 a.m. “We’re 99 percent sure it’s not a natural gas leak.”

He added that there was not any reason to suspect some sort of malicious intent behind the odor.

By 12:30 p.m. the state hazmat workers had concluded that there were no dangerous chemicals in the building, Zellmann said. Most likely, the odor had come from the pipes of the science classrooms’ drainage system. It was likely related to the system having gone unused for several months, he said.

Turners Falls High School Principal Joanne Menard could not be reached for comment.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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