WAKEFIELD - Northeast Metropolitan Technical High School officials cancelled classes for a second day today as contractors make repairs to a damaged propane line that resulted in the evacuation of the vocational facility yesterday morning.
According to Northeast Metro Tech Superintendent David DiBarri, contractors from Eastern Propane and New England Propane have been called to the Hemlock Road facility to repair propane connections near the regional school’s metal fabrication shop.
The work is expected to be finished this weekend, and DiBarri and other building officials have told parents to plan on a resumption of school on Monday.
Early Thursday morning, before classes had begun, Wakefield firefighters were dispatched to the shop area to investigate the source of a strong odor of natural gas. Shortly after responding to the call at 7:09 a.m., the first responders detected elevated readings of the poisonous gas and ordered the entire building evacuated.
“Classes were canceled on Thursday following reports that an odor of propane had been detected inside the building before the start of classes. No injuries or illnesses were reported. Arriving students were held outside, then moved to nearby Wakefield High School for dismissal,” DiBarri announced in a prepared statement issued yesterday.
"Thank you to the Wakefield Fire Department for its quick and thorough response. Our students, faculty and staff should be recognized for reacting calmly during a tense situation," DiBarri continued in Thursday’s message. "We look forward to seeing everyone back in school on Monday morning."
According to local authorities, after Wakefield firefighters traced the source of the fumes to the breached propane line, all gas service to the building was shut-off. They also vented the building to remove any lingering propane gas.
Many of Northeast Metro Tech’s building systems are powered by natural gas.
Local firefighters have still not determined how the gas leak