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Smell of Natural Gas Forces Evacuation of Seneca Valley High School

The smell of natural gas in the hallways of Seneca Valley High school lead to the evacuation of staff and those students still in the building after dismissal on Wednesday after afternoon.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service units responded to the school at about 2:35 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 13 after some students smelled gas and reported it to the Montgomery County Police School Resource Officer. The officer investigated and detected a strong smell of natural gas on the first floor of the school, and the odor got stronger on the second floor.

The officer called for Fire Rescue for a gas leak. Because the odor was detected after dismissal, the only students in the school were those there for after-school clubs, activities, or athletics. The school and grounds were evacuated.

MCPD closed to traffic to Crystal Rock Drive between Middlebrook Road and Wisteria Drive. While MCFRS personnel investigated the odor, students and staff were moved across Crystal Rock Drive.

After investigating, MCFRS did not detect any gas in the building, and could not find the source of any leak. Firefighters reported that any odor had dissipated and declared the building safe at about 3:15 pm. Once the all clear was given, Seneca Valley staff began the orderly process of reentering the building.

Update: Wednesday evening Seneca Valley High School Principal Dr. Marc Cohen sent a email out parents regarding the incident. "We believe that the odor was a result of lab activity in the science wing," wrote Dr. Cohen. "It is important to note that the evacuation of our building was taken out of an abundance of caution, participants conducted themselves in a safe and orderly manner, no one was hurt, and all scheduled after school activities resumed without incident."