CHESTER - Students at Allen T. Allison Elementary had an extended recess time Monday, their first day back from the holiday break, when an electrical heater shorted out in one of the classrooms, forcing school officials to evacuate the building.
According to Chester VFD Chief John Hissam, no flames were visible, but smoke did fill up the room.
"A teacher went into a classroom to give a test to a couple students and turned on the electrical heater that is in each classroom," Hissam explained. "It shorted out, burning the wire and insulation, but there were no flames."
School officials quickly evacuated the approximate 450 students in grades K-4, and Hissam said the Chester, Newell and Lawrenceville departments responded with firefighters on scene less than three minutes after the call.
"It was extinguished by a janitor who knew what he was doing," Hissam said. "Luckily all we had to do was come in and take care of clearing out the smoke."
Hissam said the students were back in their classrooms about 30 minutes following the evacuation after fire officials determined it would be safe to re-enter the building.
"The kids got about an extra half-hour break," Hissam said. "Luckily it wasn't anything serious."