Smoking Light Fixture Sparks Fears at Special Ed School in Cobble Hill

By Nikhita Venugopal on May 3, 2013 6:05pm 

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 The charter school, along with three public schools, are housed in the same building at 284 Baltic St., in Cobble Hill.
Parents Demand Light Fixture Changes at Cobble Hill School
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COBBLE HILL — A smoking light fixture sparked fears inside a Cobble Hill special education school Thursday afternoon, parents said at a press conference Friday.

The light in an administrative office at P.S. 368, at 284 Baltic St., began to emit white smoke about 2:30 p.m. — raising concerns because the Department of Education has said that at least some of the building's lights contain toxic PCB's.

“We smelled a terrible noxious sort of odor,” said Celia Green, the school's PTA president, who was in the room at the time and got a headache afterward. “You could hear an audible sizzle.”

The room was cleared and ventilated and the light fixture was inspected Thursday night, a DOE spokeswoman said.

The building, which includes Success Academy Cobble Hill, the School for International Studies, Brooklyn School for Global Studies and P.S. 368, has "Visible Leaking PCB Ballasts" in the lighting system, according to a list of schools on New York City School Construction Authority website.

It was not immediately clear whether the light that smoked on Thursday contained PCB's. The DOE's swipe results will be in by Monday, and the DOE will notify parents, officials said. 

While no students at the school were in the office at the time, a 13-year-old boy from a different school was there, Green said.

The boy and Green suffered from headaches, she said, but there were no further injuries reported.

The light fixtures in the building are scheduled to be replaced this summer, DOE officials said.

DOE officials confirmed last week that Success Academy Cobble Hill, which shares the building, violated DOE regulations by removing potentially PCB-contaminated light fixtures from the school last summer.

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