Broken Fuel Line Causes Early Dismissal of Churchville Elementary
Students at one Augusta County Elementary school went home before lunch Friday - but it was not an early spring break. Churchville Elementary School was evacuated because of fumes from a fuel leak.
Augusta County's Superintendent Chuck Bishop says he doesn't know why it happened at a school just over 10 years old. Maintenance crews discovered heating oil leaking right where it enters one of the boiler units early Friday morning, but buses full of kids were already on the way.
All students and staff members were sent home at 11 a.m. this morning as a precaution.
The Churchville Fire Department recommended the building be closed until the leak was repaired, and the fumes dispersed. The fuel leaked onto the floor of the boiler room and the fumes spread throughout the building, except for the gym.
"That heating and air-conditioning, air-handling unit was not affected. We were able to close down and shut down all of the HVAC system and house students in the gymnasium until they could either be picked up, or we could deliver them home," said Bishop.
Augusta school officials used local media and a Reverse 911 recording to alert parents.
Bishop says the evacuation was a precaution, and there have been no reports of anyone getting sick.
Keeping the school closed until repairs and cleanup are finished won't create any scheduling headaches since Augusta County students are off all next week for spring break.
Augusta County School Board Press Release
Students at Churchville Elementary School will be released at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 2013 due to fuel fumes in the building. The issue is a result of a broken fuel line that serves one of the school's boilers. Augusta County Schools staff is currently working with the Churchville Fire Department who has recommended the school be closed until repairs have been made and fumes have had the opportunity to dissipate.
At this time, all heating and ventilation units in the building have been disabled. Students will be housed in the gymnasium, which is unaffected by this current issue.
The school administration will use the school's calling system to notify parents of the early dismissal. Buses will be dispatched back to school to deliver children to their designated drop off locations. Parents will also be given the option of picking students up at school. Pre-school students at Churchville are currently on a field trip and will finish that activity prior to returning to school. Parents of pre-school children will be contacted individually and arrangements will be made for student dismissal.
It is important to note that at no time were students and staff in danger. Central Office administration considered the recommendation of Churchville Fire and Rescue and decided it best to close the school early in order to protect the well-being of students and staff.
March 25-29 is the designated Spring Break for Augusta County Schools. We fully expect it will be safe for students to return to school on Monday, April 1, 2013.
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