Acid leak prompts hazmat response at N. Omaha middle school

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Hazmat officials responded to reports of an acid leak that sparked an evacuation of some classrooms in a North Omaha middle school on Wednesday.

Some students and staff at Nathan Hale Middle School evacuated at about 2:20 p.m. after reports of a "strong unknown odor in the back half of the building."

Workers doing construction in the back building hit a pipe, and it started leaking hydrochloric acid.

Omaha Fire Assistant Chief Joe Salcedo Jr. said the leak was contained to a construction area — below the pool area — on the south side of the school building.

No students or teachers were anywhere near the affected area, Salcedo said.

Omaha Fire and Rescue responded, including special operations personnel. Men in orange suits were seen entering the school Wednesday afternoon, located near North 60th Street and Sorensen Parkway.

In order to remove the substance, he said, the team will turn it into a solid, remove it, then clean the area.

Meanwhile, the smell is gone, he said.

"It has been ventilated out," he said.

Families were notified of the evaucation Wednesday afternoon by Principal Darin Williams:

Dear Nathan Hale Families:  

We wanted to make you aware that at approximately 2:20 p.m., there was a reported strong unknown odor in the back half of the building. We immediately contacted the appropriate authorities and have evacuated the impacted classrooms. Students and staff are safe. 

We wanted all parents to be aware of the situation. We will provide you with an update once we are given the all clear.    

Sincerely,  

Darin Williams Principal 
Nathan Hale Middle School


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