Metro-East News

Gas smell causes Belleville elementary school to be temporarily evacuated

Signal Hill Elementary School was briefly evacuated Friday morning after a parent and maintenance man noticed the odor of gas near the building.

Students went to the Signal Hill United Methodist Church, just across the street, for about half an hour starting at 8:25 a.m., Signal Hill Fire Chief Tom Elliff said. They returned to the school building at about 9 a.m.

“Anytime anyone detects something unusual, especially natural gas ... (we) certainly always want them to call 911 and get responders,” Elliff said.

Firefighters were joined by Ameren workers in checking the area for gas leaks. They were unsuccessful at finding any gas leak or source, but Ameren remained at the scene after firefighters left at 9 a.m., Elliff said.

The fire chief praised the school for its actions at both quickly evacuating the students according to plan and for its emails and social media notifications to parents.

“The school was very proactive, they knew what they were doing ... they followed their procedures and made sure the kids were safe,” he said.

Signal Hill Elementary School has about 350 students in the building at 40 Signal Hill Place in Belleville.