Gas Leak Forces Bronx School Evacuation: FDNY

By Katherine Creag
|  Monday, Dec 10, 2012  |  Updated 1:51 PM EDT
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Authorities evacuated a Bronx public school because of a gas leak Monday morning, the FDNY said.

Authorities evacuated a Bronx public school because of a gas leak Monday morning, the FDNY said.

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Authorities evacuated a Bronx public school because of a gas leak Monday morning, the FDNY said.

No injuries were reported after the leak near I.S. 131, which is The Albert Einstein School, shortly before 7:30 a.m., about an hour before classes were to start.

Children and staff were being kept out of the building until it could be deemed safe, the FDNY said.

Michelle Dekenipp, a seventh-grade English and social studies teacher, told NBC 4 New York she received a message from the principal through the school-wide email system earlier Monday that said someone smelled an odor that smelled like gasoline, so Con Edison was called in to inspect as a precaution. 

Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the gas leak was outside the Bolton Avenue school, but the smell permeated the building. The gas was shut off and students were relocated to other schools.

Dekenipp said the evacuation was the latest in a string of incidents that have kept her and her students out of classes. The school was shut down for a week due to Sandy, she said, and students and teachers already have to make up that time during the spring.

"This year so far has just weather-wise, safety-wise been different," she said. "I've been teaching for 10 years and this year has had the most surprise circumstances."

As for the evacuation, Dekenipp said, "The kids are happy but the rest of us would just like to get inside and start work."

Diana Ortiz hadn't received an email note about the evacuation before she went to drop her son off at school. When she arrived, she saw fire trucks and utility crews blocking much of the school zone and parked in a nearby Auto Zone parking lot so she could walk over and see what happened. 

Once she learned of the gas leak, Ortiz said she was going to turn around.

"I'd rather just take my kid home. Hopefully by tomorrow everything's fine," Ortiz said. She said her son only enrolled in I.S. 131 this year but she hadn't experienced any similar incidents at the school.

The cause of the leak was under investigation.

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