MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Jefferson Elementary School was evacuated Thursday morning after a custodian at the school "smelled gas near one of the boilers and immediately turned off the gas and notified the Maplewood Fire Department," according to an email from the South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) that was sent to Jefferson families.
Students and staff were safely evacuated as a precaution while the Fire Department investigated, during which they found a small leak on the gas line to one of the boilers, according to the SOMSD email. The SOMSD stated that it will plan to repair the boiler when school is not in session, and until then the gas to that boiler will remain shut off, adding that there are three other operational boilers, all of which were "deemed safe to use by the Fire Department."
"We identified the leak and shut off the gas," said Maplewood Fire Department Captain Christopher Ariemma. "We called PSE&G and had them confirm the source and safety before giving the all clear to reoccupy the school."
The evacuation was from about 10:10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with all staff and students returning to the building at that time.