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School evacuates for gas leak. The culprit was in Tupperware, Wisconsin officials say

A school in Wisconsin was evacuated suddenly over fears of a natural gas leak inside the building, officials say.

But the foul odor was actually coming from something else.

Firefighters rushed to Black Hawk Middle School in Madison shortly after 2:30 p.m. Friday while the building with nearly 400 students evacuated, according to a news release. When the fire department arrived, a technician with the gas and electric company was already at the scene investigating, officials said.

The technician had found an area where the smell seemed to be originating. But his handheld sensor didn’t detect any natural gas, and it didn’t have the “trademark” odor, officials said.

A couple of firefighters walked to a classroom with a school employee — and the smell got stronger. The firefighters flipped on an “atmospheric sensor.” Still, it didn’t confirm a natural gas leak, officials said.

Finally, after an hour of looking for the source, firefighters narrowed the search to a cabinet where the odor was strongest.

They opened the door and “found a Tupperware container filled with cookies and protein bars,” according to the news release. When the lid was pulled off, a “pungent odor” filled the room — the same smell that led to the evacuation, officials said.

With the fears of a natural gas leak assuaged, the students were allowed to return inside.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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