Paragould students evacuated after gas leak

Paragould students evacuated after gas leak

Classes came to a halt Tuesday morning at Paragould High School after a gas leak was discovered.

Superintendent Debbie Smith said someone smelled a faint scent of gas on the outside of an old science building near the south side of the campus and alerted her.

"We had a little bit of trash in a line and the gas was being released by that regulator as it should and when the gas smell was noticed, it was a very faint smell but we always take that very seriously," Smith said.

Students in grades 7-12 were evacuated and sent to the school's field house and football field as crews worked to stop the leak.

"Even though the smell was faint, you don't want to wait until it's not faint to make a decision," Smith said. "We always put the safety of the kids first so we evacuated the students and got the line taken care of."

Smith said CenterPoint Energy crews capped off the live gas line that is no longer used in the school to prevent any future incidents.

Parents of students were parked across the street from the school to monitor the situation and were keeping an eye on their cell phones for any alerts from the school's app.

Smith stressed the importance of students downloading the SchoolWay app to stay in the loop with emergency and other situations.

"This morning I sent a message to parents, telling them what was going on and to let them know where the kids were going," Smith said. "Periodically I'd send a message stating that CenterPoint Energy was on site, that they were assessing the situation and that we'd let them know of any other updates as soon as possible and that the kids are safe and have returned to the building."

The Paragould police department and fire department also responded to the scene.

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