Note: The following was submitted by Superintendent Cyndy Taymore.
Statement of Melrose Fire Chief Christopher Leary
On Monday November 5, 2012 at approximately 8:20 a.m., the Melrose Fire Department responded to the Melrose High School for a reported odor of gas.
Prior to the Fire Department’s arrival, National Grid and school maintenance staff were on scene attempting to locate the source of the odor which was initially detected on the 3rd Floor. All students had previously been relocated to the Middle School as a precautionary measure.
Both the gas company and the Fire Department went floor to floor with multi-gas meters and did not find any detectable gas in the building. At this point, they went to the roof and determined that a loose union on a heating unit over the front entrance to the High School was in need of tightening. Upon discovering this, the union was tightened.
The roof heating units were shut down as MFD and the gas company continued to monitor the area. A faulty regulator was also discovered in the area above the gym. At this point, the gas was shut off to the unit. No other leaks were detected, and with the gas shut off the school was safe to re-occupy. In an abundance of caution, the school department chose to release the students and they were allowed to re-enter the building and retrieve their belongings.
Given that the gas had been shut off – and there were no detectable gas readings within the building – at no time were students or staff members in any danger when allowed to re-enter the building. Any assertions that there were multiple gas leaks in the building are inaccurate and false.
At all times during this event, the safety and well-being of the students, staff and parents who were in the building at the time was the primary concern in handling this matter.