Lakeshore News Tonight

Gas Line Break Causes Valpo Middle School Evacuaton

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A natural gas leak forced authorities to evacuate hundreds of students Tuesday morning from a Valparaiso middle school.  Franklin Middle School was evacuated just before 10 a.m. after a city utility crew mistakenly hit a gas line while attempting to repair a water main leak.  Lakeshore reporter Denise Turner has the story…..

The call went out to Valparaiso police and fire crews as soon as city workers smelled gas…soon after the Valparaiso High School principal got a call as well.

Reid Amones, Principal at Valparaiso High School: Once the Central office was notified that there was a potential danger from a gas leak in the area, they made a decision to transport the students to the nearest safe place.

City Utility Director Steve Poulos says his field crews were working on a water main leak at 405 Weston Street when they hit a NIPSCO gas line while trenching to replace the main.  Valpariaso Police Sergeant Michael Grennes says when authorities arrived they decided to evacuate Ben Franklin Middle School due to the strong smell of gas inside the facility … at the same time, school officials sent a message out to parents via the schools message system to alert them to the situation.

Amones: I don’t know of anybody that was hurt, this was a completely precautionary measure that was taken.

Students were bused to the Valparaiso High School field house about a quarter mile north of the middle school.

Amones: We were happy to have them here, they were here for a few hours, we fed them lunch, we had activities for them out at the football field.

NIPSCO crews had the leak sealed by 11:15 and students were given lunch at the high school and then sent back to class.

Amones: In fact they are heading back to classes this afternoon, they will be having normal dismissal this afternoon and they should be back to class tomorrow as normal.

In Valparaiso, Denise Turner, Lakeshore News.


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