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Smoking Heating Unit Causes Evacuation At Northern Westchester School

Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary
Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary Photo Credit: Town of Cortlandt

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a correction to an earlier version of the headline.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. --  Students were evacuated from an elementary school in Cortlandt on Thursday when part of a heating unit malfunctioned, sending smoke into the school, said Buchanan Fire Chief Stuart Bayer.

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. when an alarmed was activated at the Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary Schools, sending firefighters from Buchanan to the school, at 160 Westchester Ave., the chief said.

Once inside, they encountered smoke in a third-grade classroom and hallway and evacuated all of the students, Bayer said.

The electrical problem that produced the smoke was caused by a six-inch box inside the heating unit that malfunctioned, the chief added. 

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the smoking unit and began ventilating the school with help from the Montrose Fire Department, he said.

The ventilation is done with large fans that are placed at the front of the school which blow clean air through the school, pushing the smoke out the open windows and doors. 

There were no injuries and students were back in their classrooms within an hour. 

School districts officials thanked the departments for a great job on the district's Facebook page. 

Firefighters from Verplanck stood by in station in case additional help was needed.  

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