Students safe after air conditioning issue prompted school evacuation

ATLANTA — No injuries were reported after a problem with the HVAC system caused "some type of explosion" at Cleveland Avenue Elementary Wednesday morning, according to fire officials.

Video from NewsChopper 2 showed the students outside the school. The school is located on Old Hapeville Road near Cleveland Avenue..

Officials believe the problem came from the HVAC system. Sgt. Cortez Stafford told Channel 2 Action News a pipe burst and caused a loud bang.


"That pipe that burst had a lot of pressure on it and it did cause a loud bang and I'm sure it scared a lot of people in the school," Cortez said. "It popped some ceiling tiles."

Atlanta Public Schools released a statement about the incident:

"This morning there was an issue with an air conditioner system at Cleveland Ave. Elementary that became under pressure and produced a loud noise in the cafeteria. The Atlanta Fire Department was called and members of APS facilities responded to the scene immediately. Out of an abundance of caution the building was evacuated. All students and staff are safe. We expect to reopen the building soon after we receive an all-clear."

Officials checked the air quality while the students were either picked up by their parents or taken to Heritage Academy Elementary nearby.

Washington spoke with one parent who said her heart raced as she rushed to pick up her sons.

“The news people are at the school, and all this explosion stuff, and I was like, ‘I can’t even breathe, oh my God,'" parent Karyn Langford said.

Officials told Washington they expected to reopen the building to students after the inspection.

“Our units went in and did a thorough job of checking the air quality of the building and all classrooms throughout," Cortez said.