Students, Nearby Households Safe After Contractor Accidentally Strikes Gas Line Near Pentucket Regional

The common area of the Pentucket Regional Middle High School. (Courtesy photograph.)

Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent Justin Bartholomew. (Courtesy photograph.)

Pentucket Regional Middle and High School students stayed in their classrooms and several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution Wednesday morning when a contractor accidentally struck a natural gas pipeline near the school’s new athletic fields.

Pentucket Regional School Superintendent Justin Bartholomew was on the air live from WHAV studios when notification came around 8:50 a.m. West Newbury Fire Chief Michael Dwyer said his department received support from West Newbury Police and Groveland Police and Fire.

“We are grateful to our mutual aid partners in Groveland for their support,” said Dwyer. “A quick and professional response to this incident by first responders, schools, the contractor involved and National Grid helped ensure there were no more serious issues this morning.”

West Newbury Fire Department, Police and mutual aid partners evacuated several homes near the site of the leak on Main Street as a precaution while the leak was active. Students at the high and middles school were placed in, what was described as, “a secure hold in their classrooms to ensure they were all accounted for and that the school’s hallways remained empty.” There were no evacuations at the high school or middle school. The secure hold at the high school was lifted and residents were able to return to their homes at about 9:15 a.m.

The contractor that struck the line was able to shut down gas flowing through the line, and National Grid arrived on scene a short time later. Firefighters, police and a school resource officer remained on scene to ensure there were no further issues.

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