Alexandria, VA

(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) George Washington Middle School has again been evacuated after a report of a gas odor in the school’s auditorium.

The incident happened around 9 a.m. today (Thursday). Firefighters responded to the school to investigate the odor, but initial reports suggest nothing hazardous was found. Students were expected to return to classrooms after about 20-30 minutes outside in the cold.

It’s at least the third such evacuation since November. After the last evacuation, on Jan. 30, the school’s principal told parents that a faulty heating unit appeared to be to blame.

“The smell was caused by a rooftop heating unit that was installed in the summer and still requires some adjustments,” Principal Jesse Mazur wrote. “We are working with the contractors who installed these new units to resolve some of the ongoing issues we have been experiencing with them since November.”

GW Middle has also been dealing with other maintenance problems, including water quality issues. As ALXnow reported last week, testing revealed relatively high levels of copper and lead from a number of water outlets at the school. On Tuesday the school told families that it aerating, flushing and re-testing the water outlets, which were being kept off line during the process.

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