Students, staff return to school after gas leak repaired

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A natural gas leak was repaired Thursday morning after prompting an evacuation at the Paragould Junior High School campus.

Students and staff returned to the school about an hour and a half after being evacuated to the field house next to the football stadium.

Students at Paragould Junior High and Paragould High School were evacuated for short time Thursday because of a gas leak at the school. The leak was later repaired and students returned to school.

The Paragould superintendent, Debbie Smith, said their number one priority was to evacuate the students then to inform parents.

"What prompted the gas leak was actually a water leak that we experienced yesterday," Smith said.

In the process of trying to fix a water leak, the gas line was punctured at Paragould Junior High. At that point, Paragould Fire Department and Centerpoint Entergy were called out to the school.

"We respond to a gas leak, our normal process is to take an engine for protection and then basically stand by until it gets repaired," said Danny Rogers, assistant fire chief at Paragould Fire Department.

Rogers said they stayed on the scene unit the gas company said it was safe for students to return to school.

"I think the school officials absolutely routinely and took care of everything, they moved the students to a safe area and there was no issues," Rogers said.

Smith said she was able to contact parents once she got word of the leak using a system called Blackboard Connect.

"I send out an alert now message to parents of our students in the district," Smith said. "The parents that called this morning were very gracious, they were very appreciative, very patient and they were very understanding."

Smith said she also sent out a second message to inform parents the leak had been taken care of and students could return back to school.

"We really appreciate the patience that we have from our parents," she said. "Not only was it shut off but it has been repaired now so we are back to normal as far as the gas leak is concerned."

Smith said they will continue to work on the water leak.

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