Gas leak closes Oroville Schools

Friday night basketball vs. Tonasket still on

OROVILLE – A gas leak in the Oroville High School chemistry lab resulted in the early release of all students and staff Friday, Dec. 13, at 10:30 a.m.

Superintendent Steve Quick said initial examination indicated that the leak was small but noted that any size leak is not safe, resulting in the cancellation of the rest of the school day. Gas company representatives verified the existence of the leak and that the gas to the building had been properly shut off, but that another party would need to take care of repairs.

“The gas company only is responsible for the line until it gets into the building,” Quick said. “After that it’s our problem.

“It’s my hope that a permanent fix will be made over the weekend or early next week. The gas will stay shut off until it’s been fixed and tested.”

Though the leak only affected the high school, all of the district’s students were sent home for the day.

“We sent home the elementary students too; it was a transportation issue,” Quick said. “There wasn’t a safety issue at the elementary.”

Quick said it appeared that the emergency alert system for parents worked as planned. He said the system sent out emails, voice mails and text messages in both English and Spanish.

“From all indications the system worked extremely well,” Quick said in an initial email to newspapers. “Both buildings have worked hard this year to have parental contact information up to date in our system.

“In the age of cell phones, it is a challenge at times to keep up with parents’ most recent phone number that is used regularly. We were able to have bus drivers on the scene within fifteen minutes ready to transport students.”

The City of Oroville and local law enforcement were also notified, as well as the Tonasket School District since Tonasket was scheduled to play at Oroville in basketball Friday evening.

All games and activities scheduled for Friday evening were continue as scheduled.

“Any younger students who were dropped off buses who the driver felt did not have somebody at home were instructed to return the students to the school as the elementary school was still fully functional and completely safe,” Quick said in the email.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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