Gas leak concern empties middle school |

Gas leak concern empties middle school

Christina Proctor

Students at Kingsbury Middle School got a 45-minute break from classes Wednesday as fire fighters investigated a possible natural gas leak in the building.

“We picked up an odor in the building we’re not used to smelling,” said Principal Tom Covault. “It smelled like natural gas so we immediately evacuated the students and I called the fire department.”

Two engines and 10 personnel responded to the school shortly after noon. A search through the building with a natural gas detector picked up no levels of gas. The smell originated inside the building near the main office, but no levels were detected there or around the exterior of the building.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Chief Tim Smith said the detectors are extremely accurate.

“Once we clear the interior and exterior as safe the kids can return to class,” Smith said. “We’re lucky the weather was good for an evacuation. A school is one of most complicated evacuations there is it is something we plan and train for. If we would need to send the children home a plan that is coordinated with the school district would go into action.”

Smith said not finding an explanation for the smell can sometimes be more unnerving than finding the problem.

“I would rather find a source of a leak so we can say this is it. This is the problem. Let’s fix it,” Smith said.

Students spent the break playing behind the school.

“My class played Duck, Duck, Goose, and Red Rover,” said Jenna Hayes, 12, a sixth-grader at the school

Rumors circulated among the students about the reason for the evacuation.

“I found out because a girl in our class said she asked our teacher. She said there’s a gas leak in our school, and I said yeah right. I didn’t believe her,” said Sara Piccola, 11.

Although Hayes enjoyed the time outside she said it cut into lunch.

“They went 10 minutes into our lunch break and didn’t give us the extra 10 minutes,” she said.

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