Mar. 3, 2005 Classes at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School were interrupted for the second day in a row owing to noxious fumes in the area. While students were evacuated Wednesday for about 15 minutes, Thursday they were sent home.
At 8:30 a.m., the school emptied, as suspect fumes were detected by some students and teachers at the school.
Wednesday the school was evacuated because of gas fumes apparently coming from underground tanks at Gottlieb's Gas Station which were being tested.
The students again were evacuated to the Joseph Aubain ball park in Frenchtown.
Principal Yvonne Pilgrim said she immediately called Fire Chief Glenn Francis and Leonard Reed, Planning and Natural Resources Division of Environmental Protection assistant director, to investigate the odor.
Francis said he, Pilgrim, Ahmed Popo, assistant principal, and Reed, had driven around and examined the whole Crown Bay area in back of the school. They found no boats emitting fumes, nor any gas leaks, Francis said.
What they did find was a person repairing his truck with gear oil, a lubricating compound. Francis said, "Every so often, when wind blew though the area, like a valley, the odor would pass through to the school." Francis ordered the person to repair his truck elsewhere. He said he found no other health hazard, or fire hazard in the area.
However, Pilgrim said when she returned to the school, the smell was still pervasive. "When we got back on campus, the smell was even stronger. The air quality is still not good." She said she wasn't "too sure" about the initial diagnosis of gear lubricant odor. "The smell is making some of our students sick," she said. "I'm not sure where it's coming from."
Pilgrim said she has been in constant contact with William Frett, insular schools superintendent. She said she has asked both Francis and Reed to conduct a thorough investigation of the area to avoid any "further disturbances."
The beleaguered school has experienced one problem after another almost since its inception. It has had no auditorium or gymnasium since they were destroyed by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. A couple years ago it had a series of phoned in bomb threats which disrupted school.
Last November a fire of suspicious origin destroyed several classrooms, which have not been reconstructed. In January, it took a walkout by teachers and students to draw the attention of the government to the deplorable physical condition of the school.
As he was shepherding the students from the school to the Joseph Aubain ball park in Frenchtown after Thursday's evacuation, history teacher Donald "Ducks" Cole, said, "It's another indication that the school needs to be moved. It shouldn't be in a commercial area."
Education officials have not yet released a decision on moving the school to a new location, something that has been undecided for years.
Pilgrim said she is in hopes the odor can be identified and eliminated and that school can resume Friday. Thursday makes the third day of class the students have missed this year. The walkout left students out of classrooms for two days.
Pilgrim said Thursday school buses were called immediately and were there for the students.
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