MAFB removing possibly dangerous chemical after Choteau schools are evacuated

Posted at 9:30 PM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 23:30:38-04

A hazardous materials disposal unit from Malmstrom Air Force Base is at Choteau High School to remove a chemical from the science lab that may have the potential to be explosive under certain circumstances.

According to the Choteau Acantha, the Choteau Volunteer Fire Department and the Choteau ambulance crew were paged out to the high school at 7:26 p.m. to stand by as the hazardous materials unit retrieved the chemical from the building.

Junior High and High School Principal Wendi Hammond said Choteau Public Schools were dismissed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday after a contractor, working to remove outdated and unused chemicals from the high school chemistry and biology labs, found a chemical whose handwritten label could not be clearly read, but indicated a potentially dangerous substance.

The Acantha wrote that Hammond said the contractor brought the chemical to the attention of Superintendent Chuck Gameon and herself, and said that his company did not have the appropriate license to remove this chemical.

The contractor recommended two other services, one of which was the MAFB hazardous materials unit.  

Hammond said the school administrators conferred with the contractor and with the Montana School Boards Association and determined that the safest option would be to evacuate staff and students from the school buildings until the MAFB hazardous materials unit could remove and dispose of the chemical.

She said they notified parents through the School Messenger program at 3 p.m. and had the students and staff clear of the building and sent home via buses and private transportation by 3:15 p.m.

She added that parents would be notified of whether school would be in session on Thursday via the School Messenger mass call service no later than 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. 

Click here to read more at the Choteau Acantha website.

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