Everyone safe following gas leak near Bainbridge Elementary
BAINBRIDGE — A quick reaction and the timely installation of a shutoff valve made for a safe response to a gas leak on the property of Bainbridge Elementary School Wednesday morning.
A contractor working on school property struck the gas line leading to the school shortly before 10:45 a.m. Both town and school officials were notified and responded quickly.
Town officials initially told school administrators no evacuation would be necessary. However, transportation was readied and school maintenance personnel ensured that outside air handlers and fans were shut down.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the town notified the school that the school would need to be evacuated. All students were out by 11:30 a.m., according to North Putnam Superintendent Nicole Singer. They were taken to North Putnam High School.
“At no time during this period were students or staff placed at risk and all school personnel followed our safety and emergency protocols,” Singer said.
Meanwhile, town utility officials were dealing with the leak itself. The town recently installed a shutoff valve on the school line should a situation like this arise.
“That was great timing,” Clerk-Treasurer Monica Bray said.
With the gas shut off, utility workers, with the assistance of Bainbridge Police, began monitoring the air and established a perimeter that extended three to four blocks to the north, east and west.
As of about 11:45 a.m., Water and Sewer Superintendent Eric Gibson, who works alongside Electric and Gas Superintendent Chad Oliver, said all was clear.
At about noon, parents were notified that they could pick up their children from the high school if they wished. Staff members and emergency personnel worked together to reunite students and parents.
Those students were not picked up at that time were escorted to their appropriate bus at dismissal and then dropped off at their normal bus stop.
“The messages and processes that were enacted Wednesday would be very similar if an emergency were to occur at another school within our corporation,” Singer added. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation during the process.”
Other responders to the incident included the Bainbridge Fire Department and PMH Ambulance.
Bainbridge residents who wish to be notified when such situations arise in the town are encouraged to subscribe to the town’s REACH Alert system by visiting www.reachalert.com and selecting “My Account,” then “Create Account” and selecting “Bainbridge” as the network name.
Anyone without internet access or experiencing any difficulty registering may contact REACH Alert at 877-307-9313.