Update: Pittsfield High School evacuated due to heating system malfunction

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PITTSFIELD -- Pittsfield High School was evacuated shortly before noon on Thursday because of a malfunctioning motor in the school's heating system.

Around 11:50 a.m., the Pittsfield Fire Department received a phone call about smoke coming from the school ventilation system.

Firefighters were alerted about "discolored smoke" originating from an unknown section of the school, according to Pittsfield Fire Deputy Mark Cancilla.

As a safety precaution, school officials rang the fire alarm and directed students out of the building.

Pittsfield firefighters and police, along with paramedics, responded while the evacuated students stood outside in the chilly 20 degree weather. Following about a 20-minute wait, the students were relocated to the school's indoor gym.

Firefighters spent about 45 minutes trying to locate the origin of the fire and assisting with the removal of the smoke from the building, according to Cancilla. Firefighters used thermal imaging equipment to track down the malfunctioning motor on the first floor. They then used fans to blow the smoke outside of the building.

Due to the malfunctioning motor, students were let out of school around 1 p.m.

Pittsfield Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Tracy Crowe said students were let out early as a safety precaution to ensure no one would get sick from the fumes. School will resume Friday.

Crowe said the city's maintenance staff was working on fixing the motor on Thursday afternoon.


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