Round Hill, SC (Paul Kirby) – A “gas like odor” caused the evacuation of Pleasant Hill Middle School for a short while Monday. The Pleasent Hill schools are located west of Lexington ff Rawl Road. The Lexington County Fire Service responded with fire trucks and a specially equipped hazardous materials unit. This unit is equipped with gas monitors that allow technicians to measure flammable limits and help find the source of such leaks. The chemical used to odorize natural and propane gas, Ethyl Mercaptan, gives off a strong odor of sulfur or rotten eggs. Even a small leak can often be detected by the human nose. Once that smell was recognized, the students were removed from the school out of an abundance of caution while the firefighters searched the school for the source of the odor.
According to Mary Beth Hill, chief communications officer for Lexington School District One, the source of the smell was eventually located, and the gas was secured to the building. At that point, all the students were allowed to return to their classes. The district has made plans to have a crew come and repair the leak once school is dismissed for the day.