Odor delays start of school at Whately Elementary

  • Berkshire Gas employees investigate a reported odor at Whately Elementary School Thursday morning. Staff Photo/Domenic Poli

Staff Writer
Published: 12/13/2018 12:39:28 PM

WHATELY — Students and staff received the all-clear to enter Whately Elementary School at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, about 40 minutes after 911 was called due to a strong sewer smell near the gas meters on the building’s west side.

Darius Modestow, the interim superintendent of Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts, said the odor was detected by Principal Kristina Kirton and staff members when they arrived at the school and were walking past the gas meters.

Berkshire Gas and the Whately fire and police departments responded to the scene. No gas leaks were found.

“This happened before the kids arrived,” Modestow said, noting that automated calls were sent to families to alert them of what had occurred. He said gas is brought in to one portion of the building only.

Modestow said students that arrived by bus before the planned 8:40 a.m. start time, as is typical, were kept there, ready to evacuate to another site if needed, until given the all-clear. He said students who were dropped off individually were sheltered in place on the school’s east side. The school has about 140 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Modestow said the strong sewer odor is being investigated “to make sure everything is running properly.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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