Stove blamed for gas leak at Picayune elementary school

District officials say students and staff were never in danger

Stove blamed for gas leak at Picayune elementary school
District officials say students and staff at Roseland Park Elementary were never in danger because once the gas smell was detected, the gas was turned off.

PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - A Picayune School District leader says the gas leak problem at Roseland Park Elementary School is repaired and the cafeteria is back in business. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brent Harrell told WLOX News Now the first round of repairs, replacing gas lines to the school, didn’t completely correct the issue.

“Yesterday we finally determined the leak was in a stove and it has been removed from the building and today they area cooking and serving breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria,” Harrell said.

Concerned parents have contacted WLOX NEWS Now for the past several days worried that their children were in danger. Harrell said Tuesday, students and staff were never in danger because once the gas smell was detected, gas was turned off. Harrell said it wasn’t until initial repairs were made and workers turned on the gas, they figured out that the source of the leak was a stove.

Though the school district has a phone system to send messages to parents, district officials did not use it to alert Roseland Park parents of the gas leak, repair efforts, or changes in meal service. Harrell said district leaders didn’t think that was necessary.

“We would only send out information if we consider the situation to be an emergency and at no point was it an emergency,” Harrell said.

The gas leak was first detected last week. Students were served sack lunches on the days the cafeteria was closed.

Picayune Public Works Director Eric Morris said three gas appliances were removed from the cafeteria as a precaution.

"In the school cafeteria there are two rows of gas appliances, the gas smell was concentrated on one of the rows. A leak was found one appliances but out of extreme caution two others were removed,” Morris said.

On Monday, three school workers sought medical attention after exposure to the gas fumes. Harrell said he knew of no students who needed medical care, though parents have told WLOX News Now some children complained of headaches and nausea.

Harrell said a new stove is expected to be installed as soon as next week.

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