Jefferson Middle School Evacuates Due to Smoke in Classrooms

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COLUMBIA - Jefferson Middle School students evacuated the school Monday afternoon after smoke appeared in two classrooms.

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said there was no confirmation of a fire.

Battalion Chief Brad Frazier said firefighters found hot construction work on metal in the lower floors of the building caused the smoke and there was no fire. Smoke was in rooms 217 and 219.

Columbia Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Nick Boren said the construction work deals with implementing new pipes for heating and air conditioning in the building.

"Crews were onsite getting things ready for the installation of a heating and air conditioning system here at Jefferson Middle this summer and were cutting old pipe in the lower level mechanical room of the school and that pipe created smoke, which set off smoke and fire alarms," Boren said.

Boren said construction crews will no longer work during the school day on this.

"We are as a result of that situation moving crews to the night shift so we don't have to worry our teachers and students and deal with tripped smoke and fire alarms," Boren said.

Baumstark and Boren said all students were safe, and Frazier said there was no damage to the building.