Leon Valley fire officials give students A+ for quick evacuation

Leon Valley Elementary School evacuated Friday

SAN ANTONIO – Students and staff are safe Friday after smoke forced a Northside Independent School District school to be evacuated.

It happened around 8 a.m. at Leon Valley Elementary School.

Leon Valley Fire Chief Luis Valdez said a staff member at the school smelled smoke in the cafeteria and alerted school officials.

School officials quickly called the fire department and started evacuating classrooms.

"Once we determined that we needed to fully evacuate the building, we sounded the alarms," Principal Rebecca Barron-Flores said. "And everybody evacuated the building very safely, calmly and orderly."

More than 600 students were evacuated.

Valdez commended the school for doing exactly what they were supposed to do in the situation.

"They (Leon Valley Fire Department) were on scene within four minutes," said Valdez. "The school was already evacuated. The staff here did a fantastic job of evacuating the students and directing the fire department personnel."

"I think it's extremely important for the kids to know the process and what's expected," said Barron-Flores. "And they followed through without a problem. I think that's why it was so easy for our kids because they knew what was expected of them and they rose to the occasion."

Firefighters found a rooftop A/C unit had burned out right above the cafeteria.

However, Valdez said there were never any flames and there were no students in the cafeteria at the time.

The students were eventually taken to the school's gym to wait for the all clear as the district posted several real-time alerts on its Facebook page, letting parents know that the children were safe.

Students were allowed back inside their classrooms around 10 a.m.

School officials notified parents about the incident through the school messenger at 3:30 p.m.

Barron-Flores said crews will continue to repair the unit over spring break.

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