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Mercury incident tests school prep plans

Broken thermometer triggers lockdown, cleanup

District 3 Hazardous Materials Team members Dan O’Neil and Larry Gay suit up to inspect the spill site inside Wells Middle School. Beside them is Fire Lt. Jason Cantara, who led them in. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
May 06, 2012
SOUTHBRIDGE — Wells Middle School routinely has an emergency drill sometime during the spring.

But what happened Wednesday, May 2, wasn't a drill.

Around 12:20 p.m., while seventh graders were still at lunch, school staff evacuated the entire third floor as a precaution because a student had accidentally broken a mercury thermometer in a science storage closet off Room 320. The school as a whole was locked down as a precaution while the fire department and state Hazardous Materials Team investigated the scene, collected the mercury, tested the air and a couple of students to be sure no one had been exposed to the element's toxic properties.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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