School evacuated after gas leak scare

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Jay Feinstein” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]students evacuation[/media-credit]

Students and faculty members evacuate the building yesterday morning after a gas odor was detected.

by Alex Feit

This school was evacuated yesterday after a foul odor circulating throughout the building and Newtonville gave way to concerns of a potential gas leak, according to principal Jennifer Price.

Students and faculty arrived at school in the morning to a displeasing gas like smell. The smell was especially pungent near the fourth floor chemistry labs, which raised suspicions that the gas could be toxic, Price said.

After calling the police and fire departments to inform them of the situation, Price pulled the fire alarm at approximately 8:22, evacuating the school.

“I think in these situations one can never be too safe with the lives of over 2,000 kids and adults,” Price said. “I would rather evacuate the building for 40 minutes than to have someone get sick.”

Police blocked off entrances to the school, and news helicopters hovered overhead as first responders and specialists from National Grid, a natural gas company, scanned the building for traces of poisonous gas.After a gas smell was detected yesterday morning, students and faculty members wait in their muster stations while the building was inspected.

According to Mark O’Hare, a spokesperson for the Newton Fire Department, the gas was identified as mercaptan, a chemical substance frequently added to usually odorless gases to easily detect leaks.

However, the source of the gas was not located inside the building, but near where National Grid was working at the time, O’Hare said.

Jay Feinstein
After a gas smell was detected yesterday morning, students and faculty members wait in their muster stations while the building was inspected.

At around 9, the school was deemed to be clear of hazards, and Price gave the all clear to reenter the building, she said.

“Shortly after I first came into A-block English class, I smelled the gas a little bit, but it wasn’t that bad,” said sophomore Julian Chase. “It got worse throughout the block, though. I knew if it was bad, they would have us evacuate.”