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New Rochelle High School Dismissed Early After Manhole Fire Forces Evacuation

Fire Broke Out In Underground Vault Behind Main School Building
New Rochelle High School was evacuated after a fire broke out in a manhole near the school on Friday, June 7, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

New Rochelle High School was evacuated after a fire broke out in a manhole near the school on Friday, June 7, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Students at New Rochelle High School were dismissed early Friday after a manhole fire blew heavy smoke into the building.

Around 10:30 a.m., a fire broke out in an underground vault just behind the main school building, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

Heavy smoke from the fire forced officials to deem the entire school unsafe and evacuated the building.

A short time later, students were allowed back inside into the cafeteria and auditorium when it appeared crews finally had the blaze under control.

But when the fire flared up again, students were forced to evacuate a second time.

School officials discussed the situation with the fire department and Con Edison and decided to send students home when Con Ed said it needed to cut electricity from the building, the district said.

Students were dismissed around 11:15 a.m., according to the district.

It’s still unclear what caused the fire. No injuries were reported.

The U.S. Department of Justice was investigating a similar incident at the school earlier this year when two disabled students were allegedly kept inside the building during an evacuation after a fire broke out near the school, Young reported.

The Justice Department contacted the affected families and launched a formal inquiry to see if the Americans with Disabilities Act was violated.

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