Gas leak forces outage stretching from Hobe Sound to Stuart

Gas leak forced school evacuation in Martin Co.

UPDATE: Martin County Schools affected by the gas leak Monday will be back in regular session Tuesday.

Anderson Middle School and Martin County High School are on the waiting list to have the gas restored.

All students will be served lunch, but in case the gas is not restored in those schools, students may not receive a hot lunch, officials said Monday evening. 

Superintendent Laurie Gaylord praised the Martin County School District for their efforts in prioritizing the safety of students.

EARLIER STORY:

Thousands were inconvenienced in Martin County Monday after construction crews ruptured a six-inch gas pipe.

Just before 9:30, a Martin County Sheriff’s deputy was riding down Cove Road when she heard a hissing sound.

“Saw rustling in lower branches of a pine tree and then she smelled it, a very strong odor of gas," said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

With the wind blowing from the east, the decision was made to evacuate 1.000 students from nearby Anderson Middle School.

“Natural gas can be very dangerous when released like this.  Luckily in this area, it’s up and away very quickly.  There’s an additive to natural gas that allows an odor to it so we can detect it," said Martin Fire-Rescue Chief Bill Schobel.

Students were bused to Martin County High School where parents began picking them up at noon. Many were alerted through social media.

“The principal sent a message on it and he basically said give us 90 minutes before you arrive at Martin County schools," said parent Sopheat Ring.

The impact was felt throughout the county.  Many restaurants had closed signs and empty parking lots during the lunch rush.  That was sad news for Harriet Jenkins, who had just flown in from Michigan and was meeting with friends.

 “They picked us up so… now we’re looking for a place to eat," Jenkins said.

Over at the Twisted Tuna in Port Salerno, a portable gas grill was brought in.

"The only thing we ask is be a little patient.  Ticket times may go over a little than what we’d like but we’re doing the best we can," said manager Rick Julylia.

A spokeswoman for Teco Peoples Gas says workers have to go into each home in order to restore service.

There were no injuries.

 

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