Metro-East News

Belleville school evacuated briefly after alarm detects gas odor

What to do if you smell natural gas

If you have a natural gas leak, how will you know? This video shares information on what natural gas smells like and what to do if you suspect a gas leak.
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If you have a natural gas leak, how will you know? This video shares information on what natural gas smells like and what to do if you suspect a gas leak.

Students at Signal Hill Elementary School were evacuated for less than an hour on Wednesday morning after an alarm detected a gas odor.

The Signal Hill Fire Department was called to the school a little after 8 a.m. and students were evacuating, following the safety plan, said Chief Tom Elliff of the Signal Hill Fire Protection District.

A gas smell was detected on the inside of the outside doors, he said, and the cause was traced to a furnace by Ameren workers.

“It’s an older furnace, just had some work done on it yesterday,” Elliff said.

It’s the second time this school year classes have been disrupted for furnace issues and the second time this calendar year the school has been evacuated for gas odor.

The seventh and eighth grade classes were canceled Nov. 14 because a furnace was not working. The school was evacuated in February for about half an hour when the smell of gas was detected outside. In that case, Eliff said, it was a regulator on the Ameren supply that was releasing pressure.

“As buildings get older, things start happening,” Elliff said.

There were no injuries in the evacuation and classes had resumed by about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.
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