Gas leak forces one-day evacuation of Amherstburg Public School



By Ron Giofu


The presence of a natural gas smell forced the evacuation of a local elementary school last week with the situation being resolved without injury.

Amherstburg Public School students and staff were cleared out of the building last Thursday after a natural gas smell was detected in a science classroom.

“There was a gas valve that somehow got turned on in the science room,” explained principal Mark Campbell.

The gas line emanated from the roof and fed into the science room and the valve on the roof was the actual cause of the smell.

“Somehow, it got turned on,” Campbell stated.

Amherstburg police and fire attended the scene as did Union Gas. The gas line was capped so that it could not happen again, said Campbell.

Amherstburg Public School principal Mark Campbell gets an update from a Union Gas worker following the evacuation last Thursday. No one was injured and all staff and students were transported to General Amherst High School.

Campbell noted that emergency officials were also called to the school the previous night for the smell of natural gas but the school was given the all clear. The next morning around 8 a.m., a teacher noted the gas smell again and the school was evacuated. Classes had not yet begun, Campbell noted.

Students were transported to General Amherst High School where they congregated in the gymnasiums. High school students were helping to direct people where they needed to go as parents and guardians picked up many of the children. Others who couldn’t be picked up right away were entertained with movies and pizza.

Superintendent of education Lynn McLaughlin praised Campbell’s handling of the situation with both of them thanking General Amherst High School for their assistance in accommodating the students.

“Mr. Campbell did exactly what he needed to do,” said McLaughlin.

Students and parents were able to pick up belongings at the school later in the day Thursday and classes resumed Friday.


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