Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

Durango School District evacuates Needham Elementary for gas leak

Odor was detected about 1:22 p.m., and leak was contained by 2:03 p.m.
Needham Elementary School was evacuated Wednesday for a gas leak in the area. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Needham Elementary School was evacuated about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when staff members noticed a strong odor of gas, according to Durango School District 9-R.

The Durango Fire Protection District was notified of the gas leak at 1:22 p.m., said Michael Krupa, deputy fire chief-operations with the Durango Fire Protection District.

The fire department evacuated five houses along 24th Street between West Second and West Third avenues, but it did not request the evacuation of Needham Elementary School at 2425 West Third Ave., Krupa said.

“The school was never put on evacuation notice; they self-elected to do that on their own,” he said.

Karla Sluis, spokeswoman with 9-R, said the school district works with the fire department and police department in making safety decisions. The district was advised to evacuate the school, and staff members then ordered the evacuation, she said.

The school district was preparing to move students to the La Plata County Fairgrounds, but that was deemed unnecessary, she said. Instead, students were moved outside to the west side of the school until the leak was determined to be contained at 2:03 p.m.

“We are grateful for the swift response of DFPD and law enforcement, and orderly response of our staff and students during this incident,” the school district said in its notification.

Krupa said Atmos Energy was able to shut down a valve, which stopped the leak, but crews were expected remain on scene into the evening repairing the pipe.


An earlier version of this story erred in saying students were evacuated to the north side of the school. They were evacuated to the west side of the school.

Reader Comments