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Smoke odor, power outage disrupt NHS

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Classes were disrupted briefly Tuesday morning at Newton High School when an alarm went off and witnesses reported smelling smoke, according to the Newton County Fire Service.

NCFS Chief Mike Satterfield said the area of concern was the computer lab.

"All students were moved to a different part of the school and our people have been out there and we've not found any fire or anything overheated," Satterfield said about an hour after the alarm sounded. "We're still checking everything, but it seems to be under control. We'll be taking a second look at everything."

Satterfield said the students were initially moved outside, but were pretty quickly able to go into a section of the building that had been checked and declared safe in order to get out of the cold weather.

According to a message from NHS Principal Craig Lockhart sent home to parents Tuesday afternoon, the problem was apparently generated by a power outage that occurred at the nearby career academy, which is under construction. When the power came back on, a surge may have caused the computers to overheat.

All in all, there was little disruption to classes according to Newton County School System Director of Public Relations Sherri Davis-Viniard.

"We have construction going on out there and apparently someone hit a line causing the power to go out. The lights are back on now and the school day will resume as usual with only a couple of classes isolated as our technology department staff inspects the computers," she said shortly after normal operations resumed.