Methane gas clears Attica School District

By Michael Stavola
Hutchinson News – November 2, 2018

Things were back to normal on Tuesday in the Attica School District.

The internet and phone were down for part of Monday and, on Friday, the K-12 building was evacuated for what ended up being methane gas from an overheating battery, according to superintendent and principal Mike Sanders.

“It had gotten warm enough that the plastic was bulging,” Sanders said.

Sanders said that two classes on the north side of the building couldn’t stay in the classroom, because of the smell. Sanders said it had a “sewage smell” and that the janitor thought the sewage system was backed up before classes started that day.

It started to creep across from the high school side to the elementary school side until Sanders made the call to evacuate the roughly 160-students across the street to the Attica Wellness Center just after 9 a.m.

About 20 minutes later, Sanders decided to send the students home since he knew it would be a long day.

First responders in Harper County couldn’t find the source of the smell, he said, adding it took the Sedgwick County Fire Department Hazardous Material Team about two hours to find the cause.

The team, he said, used meters and detected methane gas from the battery. Eventually, they pinpointed the smell to a closet that housed the district’s SCTelcom system for phone and internet.

A representative from SCTelcom, who did not want to be named, said it was an isolated incident.

″… We are are going to check with the manufacturer of the battery and see what they have to say,” the man said in a phone interview.

By 3:30 p.m., the district started to air out the building. Sanders said the smell left soon after.

“I’ve been an administrator for over 20 years,” Sanders said. “And this was a first.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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