A chemical odor caused an early morning evacuation at Absegami High School on Thursday morning.
"I can't describe it. It was a weird smell."
It was this unusual smell that caused officials to evacuate nearly 2,000 people from the halls of Absegami High School.
Yahnek Turlington, a student at Absegami was walking to class when she said she could smell a distinct but indescribable odor.
"Everybody was just crowding around the hallway and they said we were not allowed to go in, then my teacher came out and she was holding her nose."
This is when school officials led students, faculty and staff to the outside bleachers and called police and a hazmat team to investigate.
"We evacuated the building," said Superintendent for the Great Egg Harbor Regional High School District, Dr. Steven Ciccariello. "Certainly we are most concerned about the health, safety and welfare of our students and faculty."
The smell was reportedly coming from a closet inside of a second floor chemical lab. While it is not confirmed, some students say the smell was ammonia.
"I heard that a bottle got knocked over in a cabinet or that a cap came loose and ammonia leaked in the school," said student, Nick Corn.
Five minutes after the evacuation school officials through a text message and phone alert system notified parents. Many of the concerned parents gathered outside of the school for hours wondering if their children were ok.
According to the superintendent five students were treated at the school by AtlantiCare EMS, but no students were taken to the hospital.
The students were allowed back into the school two and a half hours after the initial report. Police are continuing to investigate what caused the smell but that is still unknown.
Classes resumed as normal shortly after noon.