Gas leak forces evacuation of school, kindergarten

LUCY TOWNEND AND JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 09:00 21/06/2014

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Feilding children were checked by paramedics after a gas leak near a primary school and childcare centre yesterday.

Nearly 450 children were evacuated from Manchester Street School and neighbouring Manchester Kindergarten after a teacher smelled gas.

Emergency services were called to the school about 9.25am after a leak near the carpark was noted.

About 40 pre-schoolers, aged between 3 and 5, as well as six staff from the kindergarten, which is run by Ruahine Kindergarten Association, were moved into a nearby church hall.

Firefighters dispersed the fumes and remained on standby while gas company Vector investigated and fixed the leak, fire service communications shift manager Jan Wills said.

It appeared that a gas pipe at the back of one of the school's administration block buildings had been bumped, causing the leak.

Manchester Street School deputy principal Margo Mackie said it was a natural gas line which linked an older boiler and heaters in two classrooms.

The children were checked by St John staff and were feeling fine, she said. They returned to class after about 50 minutes.

Both the school and kindergarten practiced evacuations and other safety procedures for emergencies.

Ruahine Kindergarten Association general manager Alison Rudzki said there were several "high need" children at the centre when the leak happened.

"These teachers are already under pressure and having that gas leaked wouldn't have helped," she said.

"But they got the children together really quickly and without any panic . . . fortunately it was all safe in the end and there was no explosion or something more serious."

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- Manawatu Standard

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