Venice Firefighters extend a ladder truck to the rooftop of a Venice High building on Tuesday morning after reports of heavy smoke.

A malfunctioning electrical motor in an air conditioner handler is being blamed for smoke that disrupted classes at Venice High Tuesday morning.

Students were told to evacuate the school via intercom and speakerphone shortly before 10:48 a.m.

“This is not a drill,” the announcer said.

The school issued a text to parents minutes later, at 10:59 a.m., notifying them that students and staff of Building 4 were under evacuation due to “a strong smell of smoke.”

“All students and staff are in a safe location at this time. More information to come as we have it,” read the text.

Students were ushered out the back of the school in an orderly fashion to nearby sports fields, where fire engines and ambulances amassed.

At least five fire engines responded from Venice, Sarasota County and Nokomis.

Florida Power & Electric were on scene to cut the power to the air handlers until repairs were made.

The building was cleared for reentry at 11:45 a.m.

No injuries were reported.


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