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Sullivan County Schools addresses gas leak at elem. school

By Ben Gilliam,


BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Sullivan County Schools officials said maintenance crews have repaired a gas leak that was discovered at Mary Hughes Elementary School Monday morning.

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According to Sullivan County Board of Education chairman Randall Jones, who was reached after multiple attempts to contact the system’s director of schools, Mary Hughes principal Randy Gentry first discovered the leak around 6:30 a.m. on Monday. After speaking with county maintenance staff, Jones said gas company representatives were called around 8:15 a.m. and arrived at the school roughly 30 minutes later. Shortly after gas crews arrived, Jones said the leaking line was shut off.

Jones said gas crews then searched the school with metering tools to detect any gas that may have infiltrated the building. The only room found containing any gas was a classroom with an open window near the leak, Jones said, and classes were relocated out of that room.

Jones said he wasn’t aware of whether or not school officials reached out to inform parents of the leak or class movements but said Gentry spoke to concerned parents individually. No classes were canceled Monday, Jones said, and gas service on an independent line allowed the cafeteria to remain open.

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The leaking line was fully replaced and inspected around 4-5 p.m. on Monday, Jones said. News Channel 11 has reached out to principal Gentry to clarify whether children reported illness from the leak.

Jones said no schedule alterations are expected for the rest of the week in connection to the incident.

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