'Chemical cloud' smell fills school halls

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A "chemical cloud" of an unknown substance floated through Brunswick Friday, and a not-so-pleasant smell filled the halls of three schools, according to a Glynn County School District spokesman.

Jim Weidhaas said the cloud came through about 10 a.m. and onto the schools' campuses. Students said it took at least 15 minutes to get used to the smell that stuck around for at least a half-hour.

It was an odor that the Brunswick Fire Department said came from a pulp processing plant at the Georgia Pacific Cellulose Plant about three miles away from the schools. Officials said it was not hazardous to anyone's health.

One boy at Glynn Academy had an anxiety attack and was hospitalized but was OK, and people with asthma or other respiratory problems may have had difficulty breathing while outside but were fine once indoors, fire officials said.

Glynn County Health Department officials said there was some sort of release, but nothing that has caused concern to them. A spokeswoman said if it were something that would affect the public's health, it would have sent an alert.

Sophomore Emory Pipkin said the smell was horrible.

"The first thing I smelled was rotten eggs, and the first thing I thought was, 'Man, someone left something out or something's going on,'" Pipkin said.

"A lot of times people associate safety with physical dangers that may show, but that's not it," Weidhaas said. "So we do a lot of prep, and I think our schools responded real well, got the kids off the playground, kept them in classrooms. So that shows it's something we're prepared for and it's all about keeping everyone safe."