Metro-East News

Bethalto school evacuated for possible gas leak

A Bethalto school was temporarily evacuated due to a gas leak in the cafeteria, which has since been repaired.

School officials confirmed that a possible gas leak was discovered Tuesday morning at Trimpe Middle School in Bethalto. The students were evacuated to an elementary school building next door while firefighters and Ameren workers investigated the leak.

Brian Bretsch of Ameren Illinois confirmed that they were notified of a potential leak at 12:36 p.m. after cafeteria staff smelled natural gas in the kitchen. Ameren workers did find a small leak on an oven control valve, and were able to cap it, Bretsch said.

“School officials did the proper thing by playing it safe and evacuating the building,” Bretsch said. “Smell gas, leave fast.”

Bretsch said their workers then did a thorough safety inspection, walking through the entire cafeteria, adjacent hallways and classrooms with a detector to make sure there were no remaining natural gas levels in the school.

Ameren and the Bethalto Fire Department declared the school safe for students at 1:45 p.m., and students were returned to the building.

Ameren recommends that if anyone smells a gas leak, they should leave the premises immediately, taking pets with them. On the way out, do not use light switches, cell phones or any electrical device, as that can create a spark. After leaving, call Ameren at 800-755-5000.