Hazmat crews respond to special needs school in Murray after reports of chemical smell

MURRAY, Utah, June 6, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — More than 100 special needs students were evacuated from Murray’s Jordan Valley School on Thursday after a maintenance worker detected an unknown chemical smell near the facility’s therapy school.

She shut off the associated valves, and the issue was called in to the Unified Fire Authority.

No one was injured in the evacuation, which came in the final hours of the school year.

Matthew McFarland, spokesman from the Unified Fire Authority, was impressed with the school’s efficient evacuation, despite the fact that some of the 105 students involved struggle with mobility issues, autism or other disabilities.

Jeff Haney, Canyon School District spokesman, said all of the children were helped by their teachers or their aids.

“The school was really well practiced, they performed it well,” McFarland said of the evacuation.

“There was no real panic,” he said. “They have a lot emergency drills and fire drills. They do a really good job with that.”

Haney said most of the kids seemed to enjoy watching the hazmat crews and fire trucks come to their school.

“They have had a heck of a lot of excitement for the last day,” he said, adding that most seemed to enjoy watching “all this action all at once.”

McFarland said there was no indication the spill was hazardous, but it only makes sense to be cautious, he said. As of mid-afternoon on Thursday, the nature of the chemical spilled had not been announced.

The staff member who initially reported the unexpected smell was treated at the scene, and declined any additional medical treatment, he said.

Some maintenance was being done on the school’s therapy pool, McFarland said.



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