Gas Leak Prompts School Evacuation


Ms. Lanie Catuogno

Caution tape blocks students from entering through the main entrance.

Alex Reece, Reporter

Sometime yesterday afternoon, an unknown person left a gas valve open, filling the school with natural gas overnight which went unnoticed until early this morning. This morning, all students were evacuated to the Warrior Bowl and the band lot while the Austin Fire Department worked to clear out the leftover gas in the hallways.

Nobody had to wait for too long, however, as the air quality tests came back clean a little after 9 a.m. and the all clear was given for students to re-enter the school and continue with the day. While the gas has been officially traced to Mr. Groh’s room, no one is sure exactly how it happened, not even Mr. Groh himself.

“One of the jets was turned on and left on, but I’m confident it wasn’t one of my students,” Mr. Groh said. “I don’t have a fourth block and I stayed until 5:00, and I feel like I would’ve noticed the sound or the smell.”

Although the whole ordeal is surreal for everyone, most of the faculty is taking pride in how professionally the situation was handled.

“The Westwood staff and team come together and take care of kids and take care of each other when events like this happen,” Ms. Becky Donald, Area Superintendent of the Westwood Learning Community, said. “It’s just one big family.

Ms. Donald was not alone in her admiration of student and faculty, as Mr. Acosta agreed in a morning announcement just minutes after school resumed. He expressed his admiration that even in a strange and potentially dangerous situation, Westwood spirit is still strong.