School canceled at KCHS Monday due to burnt motor

May 3, 2021

Kenai Central High School
Credit Sabine Poux/KDLL

Update, 5 p.m.

The air in the building has been evacuated and Kenai Central High School students will return to a normal school day Tuesday. Today's classes were held remotely, so there's no need for a make-up day.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District board will also meet as planned this evening in the school auditorium. You can find more on that meeting on the district's website.


Original story, 11 a.m.

Kenai Central High School was evacuated this morning after a burnt motor from an air handling unit left a burning smell in the building.

The power to the motor has been shut off and air is being exhausted out of the building. But school is still canceled for the rest of the day due to the odor, said Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff.

“Like the smell if you would imagine an electrical fire,” she said. “So that caused complaints.”

The smell was originally thought to come from an electrical fire. Students were evacuated to Kenai Middle School and sent home on buses just before 10 a.m.

But the Kenai Fire Department found the motor was smoking, not on fire, said Chief Tony Prior. He said he's not sure yet what happened but that maintenance staff from the Kenai Peninsula Borough are now addressing the situation.

Erkeneff said the district is hoping to still hold its board meeting in the auditorium tonight.

“And hopefully we can mitigate that smell throughout the building so we’ll be on a normal schedule in the morning,” she said.