Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Admiral Farragut Academy evacuated for gas leak, repairs under way

ST. PETERSBURG — A gas leak near Admiral Farragut Academy on Park Street N prompted the school's evacuation Wednesday afternoon.

Police and firefighters are on scene and portions of Park Street in front of the school are closed, police said.

Construction crews working on a sewer called authorities about 11:20 a.m. to report they had punctured a 6-inch gas line about 20 to 30 feet underground.

Junior Melissa Brizzi said she was copying AP U.S. history notes when she saw a jet of whitish vapor shoot up from the ground.

"It was a lot of gas," Brizzi said.

About 200 students were evacuated from the school and taken to the football field. They were eventually moved inside and many parents arrived to pick up children early.

Brizzi's father, Mike, a plumber, said he wasn't too concerned but still arrived to pick up Melissa and her younger brother several hours early.

"I knew nothing was going to happen," Mike Brizzi said.

Authorities said the breeze was easing concerns about the gas.

"The little bit of wind is dispersing the gas through the area, and it's blowing it away from the school,'' said Lt. Steven Lawrence of St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue.

Repair work on the pipe is still under way.

The school has been closed and parents are being advised that they can pick up their children early.

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Published: 01/16/18