Laurel Elementary School students were evacuated to neighboring Laurel Rescue Squad on Friday afternoon after heavy smoke broke out into the school’s main office at about 12:45 p.m..
The Hillsville Fire Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency agencies worked the scene, which Fire Chief Donnie Spangler said was caused by a fried motor in the school’s HVAC system. He said the breaker automatically shut the motor down, helping diffuse the situation.
Teacher Sheila South, filling in for Principal Angie Beamer while away with a school field trip, said smoke began coming through the vents in the main office, which set the alarms off. Superintendent of Carroll County Schools Dr. Strader Blankenship said the fire alarms automatically notify the Hillsville Fire Department.
South said students took the fire drill and evacuation in stride.
“Once we got everybody out, we double-checked to make sure we had everybody and we took them to the rescue squad building,” South said. “The kids were calm, nobody was crying and upset. We do a fire drill once a moth, so it was just kind of routine. We sent out an alert to parents to let them know where they are at and what’s going on.”