It happened around 8:30 a.m. at Culbreth Middle School when a compressor leaked causing an electrical malfunction in the cafeteria's kitchen.
School officials said a piece of refrigeration equipment attached to a machine that dispenses drinks caught fire and caused a loud noise along with smoke.
About 100 students were in the cafeteria at the time.
At least 29 of them were exposed to smoke from the fire. Three adults were also exposed. Eight students, and one staff member, were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation after complaining of light-headedness.
MORE: Compressor leaked in kitchen, causing small fire. 100 kids in cafeteria. 9 taken to hospital w smoke exposure. pic.twitter.com/CCNix0zLmj— Tamara Gibbs ABC11 (@TGibbsABC11) September 8, 2015
School officials said the entire building was evacuated as a safety precaution. The Chapel Hill Fire Department also responded to the scene.
Due to smoke and odor from the fire, the school dismissed students around 10:30 a.m.
LIVE @ NOON: Chapel Hill middle school gets the all-clear after small kitchen fire and evacuation. pic.twitter.com/ljUMtPcgy4— Tamara Gibbs ABC11 (@TGibbsABC11) September 8, 2015
School officials said parents were notified that they could pick up their children.
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