Gas leak forces Merced school to turn off heat

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Students at one school in Merced came back from winter to break to find their classrooms a bit chilly. (KFSN)

Students at one school in Merced came back from winter to break to find their classrooms a bit chilly.
Teachers first noticed the smell of gas on Tuesday afternoon. Space heaters are being used in several classrooms at Cruickshank Middle School in Merced as workers outside fix gas lines that had parts that became corroded.

The maintenance on the aging parts forced school officials here to temporarily shut off the gas, which also meant many classrooms weren't getting heat. Since repairs started on Wednesday, crews have been able to slowly turn the gas back on as they worked their way through each wing of the school.

"Obviously our biggest concern right away is assessing that it's not a safety concern. So for students and staff we can keep them safe. We determined it was just a heat thing and it's just figuring out how do we make the change and still allow them to get their business done in class," said Greg Spicer, Superintendent.

"We're just looking at a pressure regulator and shut off valve and they were replaced because they were just old and corroded," said Juan Garcia, maintenance.

The students who were affected were told to dress warm when they came to school. Administrators were most concerned with the cold weather in the mornings. Some classrooms didn't bother with the space heaters -- and just moved their instruction to another area of the school that does have heat.

The repairs are supposed to be fixed by Friday.



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