Students Evacuated Amid Gas Leak in San Benito

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SAN BENITO – City crews continue working to repair a gas line in San Benito. A line break Friday morning forced emergency officials to call for an evacuation at a nearby elementary school.

About 500 students from Ed Downs Elementary School were evacuated due to a gas line break near their school. They were bused over to Dr. Cash Elementary School to finish the rest of the day.

San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan told CHANNEL 5 NEWS city crews were working on a sewage line and accidentally hit the gas pipe.

He said they had requested that gas pipes be marked to avoid this from happening. This gas pipe, Galvan said, wasn't marked.

San Benito Consolidated Independent School District officials told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, fire officials requested the students and staff to be moved.

Fire crews checked the school for traces of gas and none were found. Still, they made the call to evacuate.

Galvan said at its worst, natural gas can be explosive. Inhaling the gas can also cause headaches and nausea, which is why the evacuation was a precautionary measure due to the strong smell.

San Benito CISD spokeswoman Celia Longoria told CHANNEL 5 NEWS that parents were notified through a messaging system and were allowed to pick up their children at Dr. Cash Elementary.

The gas for residents in the area will remain shut off until crews complete the repairs.

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