Gas leak in D building forces evacuation

Anushka Patil

Classes moved to gym, auditorium as cautionary measure

A gas leak in the D building shortly before second period forced students and staff members to evacuate on Nov. 14.

“We’ve been getting whiffs here and there,” Facilities Manager Chris Kenney said, “but [the smell] has been more prominent the last couple days.”

The damaged pipe that caused the leak has been excavated by contract company Steve Ciari Plumbing and Heating Inc. The rusted pipe was not installed properly and will be replaced. Photo by Amelia Yang.

According to workers Santiago Huerta and Federico Palenica from Steve Ciari Plumbing and Heating, the contractor company hired to repair the leak, the pipe was not wrapped with the proper tape and had rusted.

Last night, Kenney turned off the gas to the D building. Currently, as a cautionary measure, gas for the whole school is shut down.

Before second period, Principal’s assistant Diana Goularte called math and science department chairs, Jon Conlin and Kavita Gupta, to notify them of the leak. Conlin had already left for class so math teacher Terry Yu was called instead. He then notified other math teachers in the building, including Kathleen McCarty.

Chemistry teacher Mike McCrystal received a call from Gupta about five minutes before second period saying there was a gas leak, but that it was not an emergency. According to McCarty, classes from the lower D building went to the gym, and students in the upper D building went to the auditorium.

“We were only there for about twenty minutes,” senior Larry Xu said. His second period AP Chemistry class was one of those that evacuated.

Because classes left for the auditorium at the start of second period, McCrystal left a sign on the door notifying late students where the class was. Once in the auditorium, McCrystal took roll and told his class to work on homework.

Chemistry teacher Elizabeth McCracken’s class was also there. According to McCrystal, she had noticed that the D building classrooms were not heated this morning.

“We had been experiencing [gas problems] when we showed up this morning, and it was cold,” McCrystal said. “It was freezing.”

According to Campus Supervisor Ruben Delgado, they will first need to blow air through the pipes to remove the excess gas and then excavate the pipe. The contracting company is currently working on repairing the pipe, which runs east to west down the access road, in the back of the D building.

“The best case scenario is to repair the leak tonight,” Kenney said. “If it’s not repaired by tomorrow, the classrooms will be cold tomorrow.”