HURRICANE — Students from Valley Academy charter school in Hurricane were evacuated and sent home Monday morning after a teacher smelled the odor of natural gas in a classroom.
Emergency personnel responded to the reported leak at approximately 8:30 a.m., and the gas meter was shut off.
Students were evacuated and parents were contacted by email to pick up their children.
A service technician from Dominion Energy went through the school with gas leak detection equipment, but no readings of natural gas were detected in the building, said Darren Shepherd, Dominion Energy corporate communications director.
Responders from Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue then checked the school’s rooftop gas furnaces.
“On the rooftop heater that was above the classroom where the odors were first detected by the school, they found that there was a leak in one of the lines that goes to the furnace.
“We did a test on the lines to see if any other lines were leaking,” Shepherd said, “and we weren’t picking up any other leaks.”
Any gas would have dissipated into the open air from the rooftop furnace, he said, but the odor, resulting from an additive in the gas, may have lingered.
“Natural gas is lighter than air, so it rises and dissipates,” Shepherd said.
The gas valve to the leaking furnace was safely turned off and gas service was restored to the rest of the school.
The school will be responsible for repairing the line to the furnace, Shepherd said, adding that any equipment beyond the gas meter is owned and operated by the school.
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