Students from St. Mary's School in Estevan were forced to flee the school for a little more than an hour on February 1 due to a suspected gas leak.
Principal David Murphy said they detected an odor similar to natural gas at about 11:15 a.m. The school proceeded to enact its safety measures protocol. The students were evacuated, and staff called 911. Police and fire department crews arrived a few minutes later.
Students moved to the northeast corner of the school's property, and then to their evacuation centre at nearby Spruce Ridge School, while emergency response crews conducted their investigated.
The problem proved to be a sewer gas issue.
“All of our stacks were plugged up from the cold weather we've been having,” said Murphy. “There's ice and snow in some cases, and everything was being backed up because of the pressure from outside.”
St. Mary's students returned to class at about 12:25 p.m.
“The kids and the staff were amazing,” said Murphy. “They got outside very quickly. We were outside before the police actually showed up. They (the police) were impressed with that, too. They said it was amazing how well-behaved, and how quickly we got out of the school.”
Students were back at the school in time for an already-scheduled dance-a-thon fundraiser, which raised over $7,900 for new playground equipment.