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Hazmat Scare Forces School To Evacuate

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Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Hundreds of students are evacuated and some are hospitalized following a chemical spill at a city school. 

Monique Griego explains what happened at the Baltimore Freedom Academy.

Two students taken away in an ambulance after firefighters and police responded to the Baltimore Freedom Academy in the 1600 block of Lombard.

“You’re just nervous trying to hurry up and get here to see what’s going on,” said Kimberly Beasley.

Beasley rushed to her son’s school after first hearing there was a bomb threat—and then that some type of chemical spill forced all students and staff out of the building. 

“It was just a bunch of confusion,” said Ryan Chelsey, student. “Everybody was evacuating and trying to get out fast. We didn’t know what was going on.” 

“Then I saw kids getting in the ambulance,” Beasley said. “There was just a lot of confusion.”

Firefighters tell us several kids went into a storage closet and found a jar filled with an unknown chemical.

“They found it and opened it, was startled by the odor of it. They dropped it, it splashed a couple of students,” said Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire Department.

Two of those students complained of eye irritation and were sent to the hospital as precaution.

School leaders say the chemical was formaldehyde, but firefighters aren’t taking any chances.

“Our hazmat task force, they continue to run tests on this substance just to try and determine exactly what it was,” Cartwright said.

Beasley was just happy no students were seriously hurt.  

“I’m glad everyone is safe and everybody is ok,” she said.

Students were allowed to return to class after the spill was cleaned up by hazmat crews.

School leaders tell us the formaldehyde was being kept in a science room closet.

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