Gas Leak Under Control Near Gravette Schools
A gas leak Tuesday morning caused hundreds of students to be evacuated from their classrooms in Gravette.
Gravette Upper Elementary and Duffy Elementary were evacuated around 11 a.m., a police dispatcher said.
A fitting broke on a high-pressure gas line at a SourceGas Arkansas substation near the Gravette school campuses, forcing the students to evacuate to the high school, said Rich Davis of SourceGas.
Crews were conducting routine maintenance in the area when the incident occurred around 10:30 a.m.
“When our crews were conducting the excavation, a valve fitting on this high pressure gas line cracked, which cause the release of gas,” Davis said.
As a safety measure, the Upper Elementary students were evacuated to the Gravette Civic Center. Glenn Duffy Elementary and Middle School students were sent to the high school.
“Definitely, wanted to make sure we took all the precautions and by their direction we evacuated accordingly,” Gravette Superintendent Richard Page said.
Once at a safe location, students were given lunch.
“Found out where the kids were, found out what the count was and we prepared the food out of the high school cafeteria,” said Jason Carter, food service director.
By mid-afternoon, parents and family members were picking up children at either the Civic Center or high school.
“I didn’t understand it that much because my daughter-in-law teaches at the school and she called me and told me there was a leak, could I come and pick them up,” said Shirley Wallace, grandmother.
Parents said they were happy to know their children were safe and able to get home.
“The teachers go in personally, bringing them out so that helped there was no chaos at the high school, it was all in orderly fashion,” said Neka Lundqiest, mother.
The incident occurred within 300 feet of the schools, which is why officials evacuated the facilities, Davis said.
“We never want this to occur but when an incident like this does occur we feel confident that we can respond in a timely manner, we can work with our local officials and fix whatever is broken,” Davis said.
Davis said the gas leak is under control and a breeze helped to dissipate the fumes. Crews also checked the school to make sure there wasn’t any carbon monoxide.
Davis said the humidity was a challenge during the repair process and they are not sure exactly how much gas was leaked.
In addition to the high school, many students were taken to the Gravette Civic Center.
“As soon as we had a report of the damage, we reacted accordingly and appropriately making sure our students were at a safe location,” Gravette Superintendent Richard Page said.
Once students were at a safe location, school officials made sure they got to eat lunch.
“Found out where the kids were, found out what the count was and we prepared the food out of the high school cafeteria and transported the food here, which is where the Upper Elementary school kids were staying,” said Jason Carter, Gravette Schools food service director.
All students were dismissed early from school around 2 p.m. Administrators coordinated bus and parent pick-up times.
“The teachers go in personally, bringing them out so that helped there was no chaos at the high school, it was all in orderly fashion,” said Neka Lundqiest, a mother.
Classes will resume at Gravette Upper Elementary and Glen Duffy Elementary on Wednesday.