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HERMITAGE Heat leads to emptying of school



Published: Thu, May 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Air quality monitors were to be installed today.

By VIRGINIA ROSS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

HERMITAGE, Pa. -- For the second time in two weeks, Hickory High School was evacuated.

But this time, it wasn't because of fumes, said Louis Mastrian, schools superintendent.

"It was just too hot in the building," he said. "That's all. Today it will be better once we get our air conditioning up and running."

The school was emptied around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday to allow the building "to cool off," Mastrian said. He said administrators had closed the windows to keep dust from infiltrating the building, but temperatures soared inside. Students remained outside about 20 minutes, he added.

Friday's evacuation: The high school was evacuated around 11 a.m. Friday after someone reported a strange odor in the school, Mastrian said. He said students, teachers and staff complained of nausea, lightheadedness and headaches.

Four students, two teachers and a teacher's aide were treated at Sharon Regional Health System, he said.

He said the fumes were caused by a power saw cutting a painted metal door frame.

"That combined with the heat, the humidity, the pollen, all added up to an uncomfortable situation," Mastrian said. "But that's all been taken care of."

By Friday afternoon air quality inside the school was at "acceptable levels," he added. He said air quality monitors were being installed at the school today.

"Wednesday's events had nothing to do with what happened last Friday, except that we are experiencing unusually hot days for the season," he said. "Usually we don't even start using the air conditioning until mid-May."




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