Smell Of Gas Causes School To Evacuate

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

February 1, 2006

It was an intense few moments at Buford Middle School Wednesday morning after firefighters evacuated the school's faculty and students.

Things were back to normal around lunch-time, but earlier this morning, classes got off to a rough start. Over 600 students and staff at the middle school were told to get out after someone smelled gas in the building.

It happened after someone pulled a fire alarm around 8:30 a.m. Firefighters made their way to the school, and were acting on a call for the smell of propane. When they got there, they realized it was not propane, but natural gas.

"When we checked, we found that we had a natural gas leak that resulted from some of the Bunsen burner outlets in the science lab. We checked the building, and cleared all that area out," said Battalion Chief Britt Grimm, of the Charlottesville Fire Department.

The students and faculty were only left out in the cold for about twenty minutes before they were let back into the school. Officials from the school's central office were also outside the school standing with the school's principal.

The principal says he is glad to see the students apply what they've learned during fire drills in the name of safety. All city schools use natural gas rather than propane, but fire fighters responded with caution because they were not sure which type of gas the smell was coming from.

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