Equipment failure sends smoke to Old Orchard Beach Elementary School

Jameson Elementary School in Old Orchard Beach was briefly evacuated on Wednesday when a faulty heat pump sent smoke into the cafeteria while staff were eating lunch.

No students were in the building at the time due to a pre-programmed professional development day, said Regional School Unit 23 superintendent John Suttie. No one was injured, he said.

The smoke appeared around 12:45 p.m. and teachers nearby set off the fire alarm. Firefighters in Old Orchard Beach and surrounding towns responded and found the heat pump’s electric motor had overheated, producing smoke, Suttie said.

There were no flames and the damage to the building was minor, he said. A contractor was on site Wednesday afternoon to repair the equipment. The cost of the damage was not immediately clear, Suttie said.

“There is plasterboard and flooring that is damaged,” Suttie said. “The blessing here in disguise is that we haven’t had children.”

Suttie said parents should schedule in-person classes on Thursday. If problems arise, the district will advise families to make alternative arrangements.

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