Propane leak forces closure of elementary school on Long Island

September 16, 2013 1:54:29 PM PDT
A propane tank leak forced the one day closure of an elementary school on Long Island Monday.

A propane odor was detected inside Ridge Elementary School in Longwood around 8 a.m., before students arrived.

The Suffolk County Police Department and the Ridge Fire Department were called, and the tank was immediately secured.

"It was really a matter of 45 minutes that buses could have been coming in here not knowing what we were dealing with," said Longwood Superintendent Michael Lonergan.

Students didn't even step off of the buses, and instead were re-routed to Longwood Middle School. Parents were notified, and the students were eventually brought home.

"Everybody say on the bus for like an hour, and then we were on our way home after that hour passed," said student Jack Kent.

Jack's mother, Courtney says she waited at the bus stop for an hour for the students to come home, and around 10:15-10:30 they arrived.

"Our staff reacted very quickly, I mean, kudos to the gas company and to the fire department and police department who got here. It was secured right away," adds Superintendent Lonergan.

Children in the SCOPE Before-School Program from the Longwood's three other elementary schools were sent to their home schools. Parents of the Ridge children in the program were notified to pick up their children.

The SCOPE After-School Program for all Longwood elementary students has been canceled for the day. Parents are being notified to make other arrangements for after-school care.

"At no time were any of our children in danger," Superintendent Lonergan said. "Every precaution has been made to ensure the safety of the students and the staff...We thank the parents for their cooperation and remind them how important valid emergency contact information is under any emergency conditions. The safety plans we have in place worked well."

To ensure there were other leaks, the fire department took over the campus for the remainder of the day.

The goal is to empty the entire gas tank so that kids can return to school on Tuesday.