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Smoke scare at Nevils Elementary
Sparking ballast leads to evacuation
Bulloch County Schools

A faulty light ballast showering sparks led to the brief evacuation of Nevils Elementary School Friday, but there was no actual fire, said Bulloch County Fire Chief Christopher Ivey.

Around 1:25 p.m., “teachers in the Nevils Elementary School Gym radioed administrators that one of the gym's overhead lights was emitting sparks,” said Hayley Greene, marketing director and public relations specialist with Bulloch County Schools.

“Faculty pulled the fire alarm, contacted 911, and initiated an evacuation of the building in compliance with fire safety protocols,” she said. “Nevils Fire Department responded immediately, with assistance as well from the Statesboro Fire Department and the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office.”

Statesboro firefighters response was canceled, however, after first responders reported the issue as minor.

“School Resource Officer Jimmy Billings acted as a point person for first responders while administrators ensured that all children and adults were evacuated safely,” Greene said.  

The fire department determined that a ballast in the light fixture had failed, which caused sparks, smoke, and a strong odor to occur.”

The evacuation lasted less than 20 minutes. Ivey said Nevils firefighters removed smoke from the gym while maintenance employees replaced the ballast.

There were no injuries reported, nor any damage to school facilities, according to Greene.

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