Charleston School Clears the Air After Smoke Alarm

CHARLESTON – A defective furnace motor caused the Charleston Elementary School to fill with smoke yesterday.Firefighters responded to the school at 8:44 a.m. in response to a report that smoke in the school had set off the alarm, Charleston Fire Chief Duane Moulton said. Firefighters found sparks coming from the motor and shut power to the furnace room.Buses transported students and staff to the Charleston Town Clerk’s Office while firefighters dealt with the problem. The only person to remain at the school was Principal Sharon Gonyaw. Moulton said firefighters ventilated the school and Derby Line Fire Chief Craig Ellam responded to help check the air quality in each classroom.One hundred students and 23 adults were at the school at the time the furnace malfunctioned. “Things went great,” Gonyaw said late Monday morning. “The evacuation policy was followed and things went smoothly.”Gonyaw spoke well of Tom Graves from Fred’s Plumbing and Heating who quickly responded to the school to help deal with the problem. The furnace was installed in 2010. Gonyaw said the problem caused no damage. She had plans to notify parents about the incident through a telephone message system.