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Levittown school reopened after foul smell prompts evacuation

Michael F. Stokes Elementary School in Levittown was evacuated Wednesday morning as a result of what turned out to be a foul smell coming from a drain in the school’s kitchen, officials said.

The incident occurred before the start of school, but student were immediately moved to the adjacent J. Fred Sparke Elementary School when they began arriving at around 9 a.m., said Island Trees Union Free School District Superintendent Charles Murphy.

Students, faculty and staff were spread out among the building's gymnasium and classrooms.

Murphy said parents were notified of the evacuation through a school phone alert system.

Murphy said a cook at the school noticed an odor Tuesday, but the smell dissipated after she opened some windows. The smell returned when she turned on an exhaust fan early Wednesday morning.

Levittown Fire Department and Nassau Hazmat officials determined the smell originated from grease traps in the kitchen, Giudice said.

Giudice said a company came in last week to clean out the grease traps, which may have disturbed grease in the trap and blocked a fresh air line.

When the cooks turned on the overhead exhaust fan, the odor from the traps circulated the smell throughout the kitchen, he said.

The building was determined safe and reopened by 10:30 a.m.


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