Nine hospitalized after electrical malfunction at Chapel Hill school

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Students were sent home Tuesday morning after their Chapel Hill school was evacuated. (WTVD)

Nine people, including students, were hospitalized Tuesday after a small fire in a Chapel Hill school cafeteria.

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.



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.



School officials said parents were notified that they could pick up their children.

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