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Chapin High School evacuated due to smell of gas

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – Chapin High School was evacuated for the safety of the students after there was a suspected gas leak detected in a portion of the building Wednesday afternoon. Ladder 11 responded out of the Chapin station as did several other units including some haz-mat equipment out of Round Hill and, as well as a supervisor out of Lexington. The school is located at 300 Columbia Avenue inside the town’s limits of Chapin.

Firefighters, led by Captain Chris Ballington, a Chapin native who grew up across from the high school and one of the fire service's most experienced captains, investigated the smell and were unable to identify its source. At that point, all the students and staff were allowed to return to their classrooms and offices.Firefighters later returned to the campus to investigate the smell further and remained there until approximately 4:30 p.m. At this point, neither the school district nor the fire service have said they have identified the source of the smell.

Both natural and propane gas have an odorant called Mercaptan added to them to make them smell in the event that the gas leaks. It is a harmless chemical that is added that contains sulfur. It makes gas smell like rotten eggs so that it’s noticeable. Even a small amount of this chemical can create an odor that is easily detectable. Without this chemical addition, the gasses are both completely odorless.

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