Lincoln Fire & Rescue and Hazmat were called to Mickle Middle school Friday morning after reports of a strong odor. It happened just before 8:30 a.m. At first, staff at the school thought it was a natural gas leak. Everyone inside was immediately evacuated. Mickle students and staff waited outside for nearly an hour while emergency crews investigated the odor.
School Principal Gene Thompson says 80 kids went home sick after the incident. The students complained of headaches and nausea caused by the strong odor. Officials say a backed-up sewer line is to blame. Mickle Middle School is located near 67th and Huntington in northeast Lincoln.
Students and staff were let back into the building around 9 a.m. once officials said it was safe. Thompson says he thinks the anxiety from the incident may have affected some of the kids that went home. Nobody was physically ill or sent to a doctor and the smell was mostly gone by the end of the day.