Pupils dismissed after gas line is hit

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Despite a call to "Miss Utility," a subcontractor's digging to install fiber-optic cable ruptured a natural gas line yesterday in Severna Park, prompting the evacuation of about 600 students and an early closing of nearby Folger McKinsey Elementary School, officials said.

The subcontractor for Comcast Cable Co. hit the 2-inch gas line about 9:30 a.m. near Arundel Beach Road and Oak Court, Anne Arundel County fire officials said.

Some of the gas seeped into the elementary school, so students were evacuated to an outdoor play area. The school was closed for the rest of the day, and the children remained outdoors until buses and parents arrived to pick them up about 11 a.m

Folger McKinsey will reopen today, said county school system spokeswoman Jane Beckett.

One nearby resident was displaced for several hours, but no one was injured as a result of the gas-line break, said Battalion Chief John M. Scholz, spokesman for the county fire department.

Repairs were completed by 1 p.m., said Jessica Atwood, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

The contractor, Tucker Construction, had called the Miss Utility telephone line before digging, as required by state law, and the water, gas and electric lines had been marked, Atwood said.

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