Smoke odor prompts evacuation of Derby school

A fire engine is seen in Wichita in June 2014.
A fire engine is seen in Wichita in June 2014. File photo

Students and staff were evacuated from Derby Middle School for nearly two hours early Wednesday afternoon after a teacher reported smelling smoke in an otherwise empty room, district officials said.

A teacher returning from lunch shortly before 12:30 p.m. smelled a strong odor of smoke in a band classroom and “thought something was burning,” said Joe Dessenberger, director of operations for the school district.

The building was evacuated as a precaution, he said, with students and staff going across the school grounds to Panther Stadium. Fire crews were called, but an exhaustive search of the room and building did not reveal the source of the odor.

“We’ve come up with nothing,” Dessenberger said.

Classes resumed shortly before 2 p.m. Fire crews will return to the school after students and staff have left for the day to continue the search for the odor’s cause, he said.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger