Strong smell forces evacuation of Haverhill middle school

HAVERHILL, Mass. — A middle school in Haverhill was evacuated Thursday morning after a staff member reported a strong smell that could have been natural gas, the mayor’s office confirmed to Boston 25 News.

Around 500 students at Dr. Paul Nettle Middle School were evacuated around 8:15 a.m. Utilities to the school were turned off as a precaution and an ambulance was available for students with special needs.

About an hour later, Haverhill Fire Department ruled out a natural gas leak, but waited for a National Grid crew to arrive and give official confirmation.

The odor is suspected to be sulfur from an issue with a city sewage system located outside of the school's property. 
Students returned to class around 9 a.m.

The school is located on Boardman Street and serves students in grades 5-8.