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Gas leak empties Wilson school

About 1,000 Wilson Middle and High School students and staff were evacuated to the high school football field for more than an hour Friday morning because of a gas leak.

High School Principal Daniel Johnson said the incident began at about 8 a.m., when school staff opened a gas line to a science class. He said the leak was in a line that hadn't been used in some time.

"When we turned it on, we discovered a leak in the line and turned off the safety valve," Johnson said. "The area in the north end is isolated so we moved a classroom, but when it didn't dissipate and began to affect the auditorium, we called National Fuel and evacuated the school at about 8:45 a.m."

National Fuel found a second safety valve and made repairs to the line.

Johnson said National Fuel measured gas at zero parts per million when students returned to the school at 10:10 a.m.

Johnson said the adjoining schools have had a few evacuations due to fires in the past 11 years, but this was the first gas leak evacuation they had dealt with in his 23 years as principal.

"The students were amazing," he said. "They just sat in the bleachers and were calm, mature and responsible. There was no hysteria or discipline problems of any kind."

He said parents were informed of the evacuation through the school's automated calling system.

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