The Burlington and West Burlington Fire Departments were called to Sunnyside Elementary School, 2040 Sunnyside Avenue in Burlington, at about 12:29 p.m. on Thursday, August 25 for a report of smoke in classrooms. Firefighters arrived at 12:33 to find the fire alarms activated and the school already evacuated. They found light smoke in classrooms in the northeast corner of the building.

Firefighters tracked the issue to a mechanical room on the mezzanine. An investigation revealed that an outside contractor who was repairing a leak in a copper line on the building’s HVAC units unknowingly ignited a small amount of insulation going into the air handling system. When the system was turned on, it pushed smoke into the classrooms. The fire alarm system activated at the same time the teachers reported the smoke. The insulation had been extinguished before the fire department’s arrival. Firefighters ventilated the affected area before allowing students and staff to return to the building. Students returned to the building in approximately 25 minutes. There were no injuries.

Twelve Burlington firefighters responded to the call and were assisted by two West Burlington firefighters responding on automatic aid. Burlington Police and school maintenance also assisted at the scene. Firefighters cleared the scene at 1:07 p.m.