It took less than a minute for smoke to swamp the trailer.
Several dozen fifth-graders were huddled on the floor in anticipation, many beginning to cough and cover their noses to guard their throats from the encroaching vapors. A smoke detector sounded. A voice shouted for the trailer occupants to make their way to the exits.
When members of the group gasped their way into fresh air, they found themselves in a shady yard at the Adams County Fairgrounds, which had been designated as their meeting place during the fire safety drill conducted by the Hastings Fire Department.
“Is everybody here?” asked Daniel Mantas, reserve firefighter, who had started the fog machine in the trailer and guided the students through the regimen.