Hundreds of pupils evacuated from Honiton school after gas leak


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More than 400 pupils were moved to the nearby Honiton Community College as a precaution as gas company dealt with a leak on the site

More than 400 pupils were evacuated this morning after a gas leak at Honiton Primary School.

A smell of gas was noticed at about 8.40am and as a precaution, all 420 children were moved to Honiton Community College, about 100 metres away.

The gas company Wales and West were called out to cap the leak, which was coming from the lower field area of the site where some new building work is being carried out.

Everyone was back inside by 10am. Head teacher Christopher Tribble said: “There was a gas leak at the school and we made the decision (to evacuate) in the best interests of the children, to make sure they were safe and secure. The community college very graciously invited us on to their site, that’s a pre-planned arrangement that we have. The children were impeccable, I was so proud of their maturity and the way they conducted themselves.

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“I don’t believe there was any danger, it was just precautionary, and we’ve come back and we’ve only missed the first period of learning.”

He explained that the primary school and community college have a reciprocal arrangement and hold keys to each other’s buildings, for this kind of situation.

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“It’s about that community spirit, we’re both schools and we help each other out,” he said.

Jason Gale, Wales & West Utilities Operational Manager for Honiton said: “We were alerted to reports of a smell of gas at Honiton Primary School this morning (13 November) and immediately sent an engineer to the scene.

“On arrival, our engineer found that contractors working in the area had damaged a gas supply pipe causing it to leak. We worked as safely and as quickly as possible and have now made the pipe safe. As a precaution, the school was temporarily evacuated but all pupils have now returned to the building.

“While the damaged pipe is not part of our network we are supporting the school to get it repaired as quickly as possible.

“If anyone ever smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night.”

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