10 students evaluated after refrigerator malfunctions at Chapel Hill school

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Culbreth Middle School in Chapel Hill was evacuated Tuesday morning and 11 people were evaluated after a piece of refrigeration equipment malfunctioned in the cafeteria causing excessive smoke, school officials said.

“At 8:05 this morning, when we were serving breakfast there was a piece of electronic equipment, refrigeration equipment in the cafeteria that malfunctioned. It created a loud noise and a lot of smoke. So students and staff were evacuated immediately,” said Todd LoFrese, assistant school superintendent Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

LoFrese said it was a refrigerator that students can select beverages from.

Students and staff were removed from the entire building as a safety precaution. School officials said 10 students and one employee were evaluated after the incident, but they are expected to be OK.

“A few students reported feeling dizzy and light headed and we also have one student who has Asthma so that student was evaluated as well,” LoFrese added. “I visited the students where they were, and the students appeared to be comfortable and none of the students appeared to be in any type of distress. The EMS department was recommending they be transported to the hospital for evaluation purposes,” LoFrese said.

Due to the conditions, the school dismissed students early Tuesday.

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