Maries R-2 evacuated Friday for ‘strong propane smell’

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 1/27/21

Students at the Belle Elementary School were evacuated briefly on Jan. 22 after cafeteria staff alerted administrators to a “strong propane smell.”

“It was just a water …

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Maries R-2 evacuated Friday for ‘strong propane smell’

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Students at the Belle Elementary School were evacuated briefly on Jan. 22 after cafeteria staff alerted administrators to a “strong propane smell.”

“It was just a water heater,” said BES Principal Vanessa Feeler. “It went out and it smelled like gas. It was safe enough since the water heater shut itself off.”

The situation took place during the last lunch shift for the high schoolers. There was a strong propane smell and all students were evacuated while Transportation and Maintenance Director Tony Gieck inspected the building. When Gieck reported back, students were allowed to return to class.

“There was no danger to the students as there is an automatic shut-off on the water heater,” Feeler said. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience during the evacuation. We are thankful that the students were aware of the emergency procedures for this type of event.”

Feeler added that the district had practiced for a fire drill on Jan. 19, so the evacuation procedure was still fresh in their minds.

“Teachers said they were quicker today than they were during practice,” Feeler added. “They evacuated the building in under five minutes.”

The district has plans to replace the water heater that is primarily used to wash dishes in the kitchen. Feeler said the dishwasher has a water heater option that they can use until they have a new hot water heater installed.

“It will take longer, but it is there,” she said.

They hoped to have a new one installed by Jan. 26.

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