Communications Blunder Leads to Precautionary Evacuation of Schools in Toms River

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JACKSON-When school officials in Toms River couldn’t identify the source of a natural gas odor in the classrooms, the district took action and forced an evacuation of those schools to protect the children.

It turns out there was no immediate danger to the students as the local gas company was performing a scheduled pressure release in the area, but the district was never notified in advance.

The district said all students are safe and they were never in any immediate danger.

District Superintendent David Healy sent out the following notice to the community:

“This morning, one or more of our schools have been evacuated due to a strong odor of natural gas. Police and fire departments were immediately contacted where we quickly learned that the gas company is doing a scheduled pressure release downtown that has caused multiple phone calls from the surrounding area. The school district was not made aware in advance of this scheduled pressure release exercise and therefore as a precautionary measure we followed the appropriate protocols for a building based emergency. Fire and police units are on scene evaluating. The gas odor is unrelated to any of our building locations but precautionary steps are being taken until we receive the all clear notice from officials. Through our communications with TRPD, we’ve been informed that at no time were any of our children or staff in danger,” Healy said.


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