In the middle of second hour, on Tuesday, March 4, many classes in the science wing including Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry, Honors Chemistry and a freshman advisory chose to move to the media center because of an unknown, disturbing odor. Senior Yahor Vazmitsel first discovered the scent around 11:30 a.m., when he followed the scent to the safety shower of Sarah Laster’s AP Chemistry class.
“After discovering that the shower may be the source of [the smell], I told Ms. Laster. Me and Ms. Laster went over to a neighboring chemistry room to ask if anyone else was experiencing the same problem,” Vazmitsel said. “After that, we discovered all the safety showers were leaking sewage water.”
After Vazmitsel discovered the source, Laster resumed teaching until the lesson was over, then moved her class to the media center for additional practice work. Before the discovery, senior Kavin Anad said he thought a gas leak might have produced the smell.
“The smell reeked a pungent, rotten egg odor and spread quickly throughout the room,” Anad said. “We finished the practice problem we were working on and then evacuated the room, heading to the media center.”
Despite the intense scent, Mark Elam, a plumber for Columbia Public Schools, said they cannot find a problem quite yet.
“We’re assuming maybe there could be paper towels or a wad of toilet paper to back [the drains] up. We’re just speculating that now,” Elam said. “We’re actually trying to investigate and figure out what’s going on. We haven’t pinpointed anything yet.”
Anad said the smell made it nearly impossible to focus in class, and all the students wanted to leave the room as soon as possible.
“I’m glad we just left to the media center, as we could work on practice problems without distraction there,” Anad said.