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Gas Leak Causes Evacuation Of North Salem High School, Middle School

Students were temporarily evacuated due to a purported gas leak.
Students were temporarily evacuated due to a purported gas leak. Photo Credit: Katherine Pacchiana

A gas leak prompted the evacuation of North Salem High School and North Salem Middle School.

The leak was discovered by officials at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, prompting the evacuation as crews went to work to investigate the cause of the odor that forced the evacuation.

NYSEG reported at approximately 9 a.m. that they found the cause of the leak, and students were welcomed back into the building shortly before 9:30 a.m.

North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas said that “the gas leak turned out to be a bad meter outside the back of the building. The meter’s regulator out-gassed and it smelled in the meter vicinity. Because it was near the entrance, the smell was obvious to students and teachers coming into the middle school.

“The school took the precaution, before they knew exactly what it was, and evacuated everyone over to (Pequenakonck Elementary School) from the middle school.

"Even though NYSEG said the school is safe, the evacuation continued as a drill, seeing as they were in the process anyway. It will be one less drill they need to do later this year.”

Lucas noted that NYSEG shut off the gas to the building and will be replacing the meter today.

"A strong odor of gas was detected this morning and we immediately called Fire and NYSEG," North Salem Principal Vince DiGrandi said in a message on the district website. "They confirmed that there was an issue with the outside NYSEG gas meter. All gas line safety protocols worked correctly and there was no release of gas into the building. Any odor was from an outside release of gas. At no time were students or staff safety compromised."

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