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Smell of natural gas at Byron-Bergen Central School, students evacuated

The smell of natural gas at Byron-Bergen Central School prompted the principal to pull the fire alarm in order to evacuate students. The natural gas alert came to dispatch through RG&E. Bergen Fire Department is on scene. Mutual aid from Le Roy fire is also requested. The school is located at 6917 W. Bergen Road.

UPDATE 9:29 a.m.: "We do have an odor at the high school in the kitchen area and they are checking out the elementary school as well," says Bergen Command's firefighter Michael Crosier.

Le Roy Fire Chief Tom Wood is in charge of operations at the elementary school

RG&E workers just arrived. The superintendent had the elementary school evacuated as a precaution but no odor is of natural gas is reported and the odor of natural gas was found in the mechanical room.

UPDATE 9:33 a.m.: One engine from Churchville is requested to stand by in its hall to provide coverage for Le Roy. Bergen. Bergen command says the smell of natural gas at the high school is coming from a couple of different areas.

UPDATE 9:49 a.m.: Responders are doing a second walk-thru of the high school. There was the odor of natural gas coming from the pool area. When the walk-thru is completed, Le Roy can go back in service.

UPDATE 10:14 a.m.: Stafford also was put on standby for Le Roy and is back in service, along with Le Roy and Churchville.

UPDATE 10:39 a.m.: Bergen command says RG&E has identified a few leaks and crews are working to repair them. The school will be closed for rest of the day and the children are being dismissed.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Bergen command asks dispatch to have a deputy respond to the Byron-Bergen Central School because there are a lot of parents showing up to get their children and "some aren't too happy about things." A deputy is responding.

UPDATE 10:57 a.m.: A Le Roy fire official sent us the following corrections to this post (which have also been noted above):

1) Churchville was put on standby for Bergen, not Le Roy;

2) Stafford was on standby for Le Roy;

3) No odor of natural gas was reported at the pool;

4) In addition to leaks at the high school, the odor of natural gas was found in the mechanical room of the Elementary School.

UPDATE 11:25 a.m.: This message has been sent to parents at Byron-Bergen.

Dear Byron-Bergen Parents and Guardians,

This is Byron-Bergen Superintendent, Casey Kosiorek. I want to inform that students of the district will not be returning to school today as a result of a gas leak in both buildings. Elementary students may be signed out at the Bergen Fire Hall.  Jr./Sr. High School students may be signed out at the track. Students that can't be picked up will remain at these locations until they can be bussed at their regular time. Lunch will be provided. This evening's Elementary Open House has been cancelled. We will keep you updated as we continue to work through the situation.

UPDATE 11:36 a.m.: The students are evacuated and the schools are closed, according to the superintendent.

UPDATE 11:56 a.m.: The Bergen assignment is back in service. RG&E remains on scene.

Lisa Falkowski
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I appreciate The Batavian for the speed in which you deliver the news; but there is a down side - like parents hearing news like this from you before the school can contact them. The staff and administration at BB is great. I'm sure they've done all they can and in the manner in which they should. I hope parents stop and think before getting upset. It's easy for a news reporter to hear something on the scanner and run out the scene, but it takes a whole lot more time for the school to process the situation and then disseminate information to parents and the community.

Jason Crater
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What is the downside to parents hearing about news that may affect their children in a prompt manner?

I don't follow.

Howard Owens
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Like Jason said, what downside? I only see upside.

With all of that response going to the school, people don't want to be left in the dark. They count on us to get the available information out as quickly as possible. The idea that there's a downside is incomprehensible.

Lisa Falkowski
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Parents can react faster for their one or two than the District can for hundreds. The parents are "not happy" and now a police officer has had to go to the school. The District will get shot in the head over something they have worked hard and fast on in an effort to see all are safe. I think they did a great job.

Howard Owens
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Parents being "not happy" has nothing to do with anything we posted. If The Batavian hadn't posted anything, it would be all over the community in a matter of minutes that there was some sort of incident at the school without a lot of information -- and lack of information breeds rumors. Chances are, not posting anything would only make matters worse.

Beyond that, our rule of thumb is, we can't predict the future. We never know what might spring from us posting something or not posting something. No two people react to the same thing in the exact same way. It's not our job to predict how people will react. It's our job to report the information that's available. We're not in the predicting business.

Lisa Falkowski
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I never blamed The Batavian for anything. I admire the speed with which you deliver the news. I was just saying.

Lisa Falkowski
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As a wise woman once said: "My bad. I forgot where I was."

Cory Hawley
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If you think about it, the school cannot make the decision they did AND notify all the parents in a matter of minutes. Their priority in this event is to ensure the safety of those kids FIRST, move them to a safe place and then make contact with parents. Parents shouldn't be mad at all.

Stacy Post
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I saw almost same thing happen while i was in middle school in NC, had a bomb threat that evacuated the school, of course parents caught wind at started showing up to pick kids up and staff hadn't had a chance to setup a pick up zone and parents were getting mixed in with 1st responders, the batavian is a great help in getting information out there as its happening, I agree parents (as many do) need to trust staff to keep kids safe then pick them up.

John Woodworth JR
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Lisa, do not worry yourself. Since, the new emergency radio system is coming into the mix. Local media outlets may be unable to report on scanner news until, they purchase a scanner that is compatible and/or the local law enforcement issues them a disable radio. I understand your worries. When others who are not involved directly with an emergency situations, there is a tremendous amount of inaccurate details and statements interpreted by those who enact with scanners. This causes a lot of misinformation and can result in unintentional panic of the public. One of our many problems with today’s media. After March 1, 2014, there is no guarantee any scanner will be compatible with the new system so, you may not have to worry.

The media needs to get facts before reporting.

John Woodworth JR
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Also Lisa, judging on your thumbs up or down, there are others who agree with you, not to mention understand the context of your comment. (Update you went from 3 to1 back to 2 thumbs up.)

I do agree as a parent I want to know what affects my child's well-being but, some things need to be handle by authorities before you flood information into the public and cause a unnecessary panic. When you have panic parents, emotions run high and temperments affect decision making. Not all parents are 100% rational, we tend to make mountains out of mole hills. Byron-Bergen seem to handle things smoothly and if a parent becomes upset then, they are unreasonable to begin with.

John Woodworth JR
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Howard, just to inform you. LeRoy has an automated system that, sends out alerts via cell phones. That is also quick.

But true, my little -1. Thank you for making me smile today.

John Woodworth JR
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Stacy, parents flocking to the scene is also, dangerous. A flood of worried parents can interfere with emergency response whether it be through communication, in transit or at the scene. It also takes more emergency forces to keep parents and others out of the way and at a safe distance. BTW, there is no safe distances really. Secondary devices could be place at known rally points and cause more issues. You can disagree but, it is true. Fortunately we have not had any issues here, yet.

Fact of the manner is that, authorities can get more done safely without over zealous parents and media interfering.

John Woodworth JR
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BTW, instead of negative numbers, give me facts that, do not support my comments. Not opinions but, facts. I can go through my countless notes (As long as it is not LES) through a dozen plus seminars and lectures by Professional and subject matter experts on terrorism, violent extremist, school violence, human aggression and violence, etc..... No, this does not make me a subject matter expert but, knowledgable of potential threats. It is awareness that, makes us stronger not, keeping a blind eye or it will never happen here attitudes. Granted we are talking about the Genesee County area. Complacency is our greatest flaw. Look how the government distracts you from one issue to the next and you never fight back or you figure you cannot do anything about it. Have a great day.

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