Faulty air handler unit to blame for smoke in media center at Susan Clark Junior High

Susan Clark Junior High.

A faulty air handler unit led to the evacuation of Susan Clark Junior High Monday afternoon.

The alarm in the media center office was activated at approximately 3:10 p.m as smoke starting coming out of a ceiling vent, according to a letter to parents from principal Chris Nienhaus and assistant principal Jen Fridley.

All students and staff were evacuated in a safe and timely fashion as soon as the alarm went off. The Muscatine Fire Department was on site soon after and deemed it safe for all students and staff to re-enter the building to retrieve their belongings for dismissal, officials said.

The smoke was caused by a compressor in an air handling unit, heating the oil and creating a lot of initial smoke, investigators said.

The unit will be replaced, and the school maintenance team is inspecting all other units to ensure they are properly functioning.

The Muscatine Fire Department has deemed there is no threat of any kind and to continue with school, as usual, on Tuesday.

“Our thanks to the Muscatine Fire Department for handling things and all SCJH students and staff for taking the incident seriously and making the evacuation go as smoothly as possible,” Nienhaus and Fridley said in the letter.