Gas leak near North Texas elementary school sends 9 staff members, 2 students to hospital

Staff members and students at NeSmith Elementary in the Collin County city of Lavon were taken to the hospital after a gas leak near campus.

Superintendent Tonya Knowlton says a construction crew working on a building addition hit a gas line. 

Lavon Fire Department responded, and the leak was contained within 15 minutes. No gas readings were found in the school by firefighters or Atmos, according to the city manager.

In a letter to parents, the superintendent says the district "failed to update an increase in symptom reports."

School continued after people became sick, but now school will be closed for the rest of the week to allow for a full inspection.

"Atmos actually did two sweeps of the building checking air quality. Found no indication of gas inside the building," Knowlton said.

Later, however, some staff members and students experienced headaches and nausea. 

Parents were notified that they could pick their kids up early, but they were not required to. The school and buses maintained normal operating hours.

"It was a little alarming," Knowlton said. "We wanted to make sure we were you know addressing everyone who was having symptoms."

FOX 4 observed Atmos and construction crews examining the scene early Wednesday evening. The district is hopeful that Thursday’s schedule will be normal.

Nine staff members requested to be transported to the hospital.

SKY 4 spotted multiple ambulances outside the school.

The district says two students also reported feeling effects from the gas leak and were taken to the hospital.

Parents were told they could pick their students up early if they wanted to, but it was not required.


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The district has not provided specific health updates on the 11 people who went to the hospital. It did say at least four people have been released.

Community ISD says Atmos Energy and the Lavon Fire Department tested multiple sites inside the school and did not detect any gas inside the campus.