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Smoke forces evacuation at Sugar Hill Elementary
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A lighting malfunction forced a brief evacuation Thursday morning at Sugar Hill Elementary School in East Hall.

School officials, smelling smoke in a hallway, saw some smoke curling from the gymnasium ceiling. After the discovery was made at about 8 a.m., they alerted authorities and evacuated the school, which has more than 750 students.

Upon searching the school, firefighters discovered that a ballast in one of the gym lights had burned up, said principal Rick Quarles. Students stayed on buses to keep warm during the ordeal, Quarles said. The evacuation lasted about 30 to 45 minutes. Classes then resumed.