Gas leak causes neighborhood evacuation

An Ontario Police officer escorts students and staff from Ontario High School as they walk from the school to Four Rivers Cultural Center today. The school was evacuated after a nearby gas leak. 

ONTARIO — Several Ontario residents are waiting to return to their homes this morning after a gas leak caused officials to do a mandatory evacuation. Officials at Ontario High School, which was nearby, were advised to evacuate by Cascade Natural Gas, as the leak was only four blocks to the north, and there were poor air quality conditions, according to Taryn Smith, public relations officer for Ontario School District.

The students from the school are headed to Four Rivers Cultural Center, where they will either spend the rest of the school day, or stay until they get the all clear to go back to the high school.

Smith said Cascade Natural Gas crews and the school’s maintenance crews were at Aiken Elementary right now, processing the area and checking safety to determine whether to evacuate that school, as well.

Ontario Fire Chief Terry Leighton said his department was called for assistance, and had engines stationed at roads where residents were evacuated.

Firefighters evacuated Northwest Tenth Street, Leighton said, from Southwest Fourth to Southwest Second avenues, and across Second Avenue, heading west to a loop in the Chukar Ridge area.

Leighton said the break has been stopped, and his crews were in the process of breaking down equipment and helping monitor gas levels.

In addition, they’re working on letting people back in their neighborhoods.

Smith said Cascaded Gas officials said the air quality will not get any worse, as the gas is in the process of dissipating.

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