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Elementary students evacuated

A fire alarm triggered by smoke from an overheated motor in the HVAC unit at Prince Edward County Elementary School (PECES) at approximately 9:15 a.m. Friday saw the response of three separate fire departments.

Shortly after, students were evacuated and transported by bus to the cafeteria at Prince Edward County Middle School (PECMS). According to a press release from Prince Edward County Public School, lunches were served to the PECES students at PECMS.

“Once the building is cleared by the fire department and we can ensure that all areas are safe, the students will return to the elementary school,” officials said in the release. 

According to Farmville Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Walter Whitt, upon arrival fire crews were told there was a smell of smoke in the hallways.

“We checked interior, could not find

anything,” Whitt said. “The next step, they checked the HVAC units because it is the first time in the winter with the motors turning on and all that.”

Whitt said that crews on the roof found a motor that was overheated and turned it over to maintenance.

“We’re pretty sure that’s the cause of the odor and the reason why the alarm was going off,” Whitt said.

Farmville Volunteer Fire Department, Hampden Sydney Volunteer Fire Department, Rice Volunteer Fire Department and Prince Edward Rescue Squad.

Whitt said the rescue squad was on scene in case of any panic attacks from PECES students or if any students had problems from smoke ventilation. He said he didn’t know of any problems the rescue squad had to assist in.