Propane leak closes Ridge Elementary School

Gas from a leaking propane tank is burned Gas from a leaking propane tank is burned off after a leak in the tank forced the cancellation of classes at Ridge Elementary School, Longwood Central Schools officials said. (Sept. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Stringer News Service

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A leaking propane tank forced the cancellation of classes Monday at Ridge Elementary School, Longwood Central Schools officials said.

Suffolk County police said a 911 call reported a possible gas leak at 7:47 a.m. Police and volunteers from the Ridge Fire Department responded to the scene -- and found a leaking 500-gallon propane tank, district spokeswoman Myra Vaughn said.

Vaughn said classes at the school begin at 9:30 a.m. and said all students were diverted before ever reaching school grounds -- meaning children were never at risk.

While officials assessed the situation, Vaughn said students were kept on the grounds of Longwood Middle School.

Once fire officials and school district officials decided to close the school in order to drain the leaking tank, students were transported home.

"At no time were any of our children in danger," Longwood superintendent Michael Lonergan said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "Every precaution has been made to ensure the safety of the students and the staff."

Officials said Ridge firefighters were still draining the tank at 12:15 p.m. and said the process would take five to six hours to complete. The cause of the leak was not immediately clear.

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