NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Colegrove Park Elementary School pupils were released early on Thursday after the report of gas smell in the kitchen turned up a different problem in the hot water system.
The school was evacuated for a gas smell then dismissed for a hot water problem.
Fire Chief Stephen Meranti said the report of the smell came in before school started so students were gathered on arrival and evacuated to the nearby First Baptist Church.
"The alarm came in before the kids were at school so I believe the kids never entered the building," Meranti said. "They assembled the kids outside and we redirected them to their normal evacuation site.
"We called in Berkshire Gas to try to locate the issue -- that it was definitely that appliance -- and in looking for that problem, that issue, they found another issue with the gas hot water heater. So the reason why it's taking so long to them get back here, we wanted to make sure that they had hot water before."
The report came in at 8:14 and the school was deemed safe by about 9:40 a.m. but when it appeared the hot water heater couldn't be fixed immediately, school officials decided to call it a half-day and send the children home.
All of the children were escorted back to the school for an assembly and to wait for dismissal at 11:30.
The prekindergarten class was shuttled to and from the church. When they were sent out to board the bus from the church, they were greeted by local officers and state police troopers who high-fived them.
The older classes trooped up the hill where Principal Amy Meehan waited to tell them they were doing a good job.
The last time the school was fully evacuated was in 2008 when student at what was then Conte Middle School spilled mercury to get a day off. The building was closed three days to be decontaminated.
Thursday's evacuation response included Police Chief Michael Cozzaglio and North Adams police officers, personnel from Northern Berkshire EMS, the Fire Department, school safety personnel, and state police troopers.
North Church Street was closed twice to allow the children to cross.
"It's a nice day. It was good practice," said Meranti. "Everything went well."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Be Alert for Opportunities When Preparing for College Costs
Now that summer is winding down, it will soon be "back-to-school" time. When children are young, your logistics for the new academic year may involve little more than a trip to buy school supplies.
But if you would like to send your kids (or grandkids) to college someday, you need to plan far ahead to meet the financial demands. And, as part of your planning, you also need to be on the lookout for all opportunities to help pay those sizable college bills.
Specifically, you will need to be ready to take action in these areas:
Financial aid: You should start thinking about financial aid at least a year before your child heads off to college. For example, you can begin submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on Oct. 1, 2019, for the 2020-21 academic year. And if the past is any guide, you will always need to remember that Oct. 1 date for the next school year. The FAFSA helps colleges and the U.S. Department of Education evaluate your financial need and determine how much financial support your child requires. And since a lot of financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it's a good idea to submit your forms as soon as possible once the application period opens.
Kevin Strahle traveled all the way from his home in New Jersey to compete in the Jack's Hot Dog Stand eating contest on Eagle Street on a sweltering Saturday.
But because of some late intestinal distress, he did not take the title home with him. click for more