UPDATED: Wallace School Evacuated Due To "Gas Problem"

Hoboken Fire Chief Richard Blohm says officials are investigating a problem with an air intake vent near the school's heating system.

Approximately 650 students at Wallace Elementary School were evacuated around 10:30 this morning due to a "gas problem," according to officials.

Most students were taken to the Hoboken High School gym and auditorium, while pre-Kindergardent students were evacuated to the senior center at Fox Hills, Hoboken Superintendent Dr. Mark Toback said.

Toback said staff reported the smell of gas before the school day began and got worse as the day wore on.

At Wallace School, members of the Hoboken Fire Department were on the scene. Fire Chief Richard Blohm told Patch that as of 11 a.m., there was no official cause, but a shift commander informed him that there could be a problem with an air vent near the school's heating system. 

Blohm said the boiler has a pressure regulator, and when the boiler is turned on, pressure builds up and vapors are released to the outside. Blohm said it is possible the vapors may have gotten inside the school through air intake vents nearby.

"The construction official is on site and they are going to contact someone to do emergency repairs," he said. "There is no actually a gas leak inside the building."

There was some confusion as parents and relatives arrived in the lobby at Hoboken High School to pick up children early. School staff and security attempted to form a line for an orderly dismissal.

Toback said children will only be released to a parent. All students will be brought back to Wallace for regular dismissal this afternoon. All after school activities have been cancelled, according to the district website.


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