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Baltimore School Evacuates Over a Strange Smell. It Was a Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener

Oct 05, 2017

A Baltimore school evacuated its student body on Thursday and called the local fire department’s Hazmat team over a strange smell. The smell, it turned out, belonged to a pumpkin spice air freshener.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, students and teachers on the third floor of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School started smelling something odd according to the Baltimore Sun. Bill Heiser, the school’s president, told the paper the stench seemed to be getting stronger and that several people reported difficulty breathing.

So Heiser ordered an evacuation and called the Baltimore Fire Department.

When the fire department arrived, they requested a Hazmat team, according to the Sun, and the specialists tested the school for hazardous materials. All of the tests were negative, and firefighters opened windows to air out the building.

Eventually, firefighters found the smell’s origin: a pumpkin spice-scented plugin air freshener in a third floor classroom.

While the school was safe, two students and three adults were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, according to WBAL-TV, a local NBC affiliate.

The school posted a message on its website Thursday evening, saying its emergency plan was followed and that fire officials determined the school building was safe.

“Classes will resume tomorrow, Friday, October 6, 2017,” the school’s statement added. “Mrs. Sylvia Doud, our School Counselor, will be available to meet with any students that may need to talk about today's events. I would like to thank our faculty and students for their patience and leadership.”

Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark also told reporters that despite the innocent cause of the smell, he was glad the school took action.

“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,” Clark said, according to WBAL-TV. “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.”

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