Johnson High School in Buda evacuated due to gas smell

Johnson High School in Buda was evacuated Friday due to a "gas smell" in the building.

According to Hays CISD Superintendent Tim Savoy, gas company representatives, building contractors and maintenance crews conducted thorough testing of the building and gas lines Friday afternoon and evening.

Students and staff were first evacuated around 12:45 p.m. for 20 minutes, according to Savoy, and the gas smell was isolated to the cafeteria kitchen. Savoy says the kitchen door had been propped open to receive a delivery and the wind blew out the pilot lights on several cooktops.

The second evacuation occurred at 2:41 p.m. and students and staff were not allowed to return to the building. Savoy says the second evacuation was due to a gas smell from a different part of the building, likely caused by a small gas leak in the culinary arts classroom kitchen area. Crews repaired a damaged connector valve in the area.

During the search, crews also identified two loose boiler room fittings and tightened them. Additionally, crews discovered a small leak on a cap at the building’s gas meter manifold, says Savoy.

Classes were canceled for the remainder of the day, so first responders and maintenance crews could do a "thorough check" of the building, says a letter sent to Johnson HS parents. Students and staff were evacuated to the parking lot and escorted to the Carpenter Hill Elementary gym next door to "get them out of the cold and windy weather."

"Because the students were evacuated quickly, many may not have their personal items with them, including their cell phones," says the letter. "Please do not be alarmed if you are not able to get an answer from your child."

Students and staff will be allowed back on campus Saturday afternoon to retrieve their personal items from noon to 2 p.m.

The gas is to remain off throughout the weekend, and Savoy says the high school's schedule next week will not be affected. Students are expected to return to class Wednesday as Monday is a school holiday and Tuesday is a staff development day.

All after-school activities, including Friday night's dance, have been canceled and will be rescheduled.