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Odor prompting hazmat call was pumpkin spice air freshener

UPI News Service, 10/06/2017 

A strange smell that prompted a hazmat response at a Baltimore high school was found to have a seasonal, but not unusual, cause: a pumpkin spice air freshener.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School posted a statement on its website explaining students noticed a "strange odor" on the third floor of the school about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Officials evacuated the school and emergency personnel including the Baltimore City Fire Department's hazmat team were summoned to investigate the odor.

"Five members of our community were transported to area hospitals as a precautionary measure," the statement said. "After extensive testing, the BCFD determined that the building was safe."

The fire department identified the source of the offending smell as a pumpkin spice air freshener.

"This plug-in air freshener that basically puts out the odor every so many seconds, and it's a pumpkin spice, and that's exactly what, if you go in there, you can smell, so it has been identified. It is not hazardous at all," Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark told WBAL-TV.

Clark said school officials did the right thing by calling authorities.

"It's always best to take precaution, call 911, let us -- we are the experts -- come in and make sure that everything is safe, so we have no problem with them making this call. I know it's a lot of equipment that you see around here, a lot of firefighters that are working on this incident; however, we want to make sure that these students and teachers are all safe," Clark said.

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