Smoke, Not Fire, Prompts School Evacuation in North Carolina

Lincoln County Schools officials said it was a large puff of smoke from a water heater system and not an actual fire that sparked a Tuesday morning evacuation of East Lincoln High School. No injuries were reported.

Authorities believe the fuel and oil level mixtures on the school's water heater system were out of alignment, said district spokeswoman Michelle Thompson. Damage was estimated at less than $500.The smoke was coming from the building that houses the school's cafeteria, said Jason Saine, public information officer for the East Lincoln Fire Department.

Saine said fire crews were dispatched to the Denver school at 8:46 a.m. and had the situation under control by 9:19 a.m. Firefighters from the Denver and Alexis departments also responded to the call.

All 820 students, along with teachers and school staff were evacuated. They were let back in the school by 10 a.m. -- APRIL BETHEA

Distributed by the Associated Press