WESTERNPORT — Elevated natural gas pressure levels in a steam cooker appliance prompted evacuation of Westernport Elementary School late Wednesday morning.
The school was evacuated at 10:30 a.m. with staff and students sent to the school playground within minutes of the discovery of the elevated gas pressure levels.
Columbia Gas responded to check the school for a possible gas leak.
“It was determined that there was no gas leak and students and staff were not in any danger. Students and staff were returned to the building and classes resumed as normal,” said Mia Cross, school board public relations specialist.
Students were served a cold lunch as a precaution.
The evacuation lasted for 45 minutes and no gas or odor of gas was present in the building.
Cross said a gas-powered steam cooker was being checked by a board maintenance technician who tested it when he found elevated levels of gas pressure. Columbia Gas officials recommended evacuation as a precaution and then tested the steam cooker for gas levels without finding any elevated readings.
“When our techs tested again, it showed elevated readings even after Columbia Gas cleared the scene. It was determined that it was an isolated incident with the steamer which is not being used until it can be further evaluated,” said Cross.
Allegany County 911 did not dispatch any first-responders to the school property and received no calls for assistance from the board of education.
One call from a citizen was received by the center after it was forwarded from the Mineral County 911 center.