Light controller malfunction at elementary school causes brief evacuation

Firefighter Ethan Smith puts away hose following a brief fire scare at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School Wednesday morning. Although there was some smoke, no actual fire broke out.

BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon Academy Elementary School students and staff were evacuated Wednesday morning after a malfunctioning light controller in the building’s boiler room began smoking.

Lt. Linn Baxa with the Buckhannon Fire Department said a light ballast in the utility/boiler room of the building malfunctioned.

“It just burned up and caused there to be a little bit of smoke in the room,” Baxa said. “There was no fire to put out. We investigated it and found the source. There was hardly any smoke when we got there.”

A light ballast regulates the electrical current to the long tube-shaped lights in the school, Baxa explained.

The incident occurred just prior to 9 a.m.

Academy Elementary School
A firetruck can be seen in the parking lot behind Buckhannon Academy Elementary School on Wednesday morning after a brief smoke scare caused by a malfunctioning light ballast.