Alexandria, VA

The principal at George Washington Middle School says there is no danger to students after the smell of gas again prompted a school-wide evacuation on Thursday.

Principal Jesse Mazur notified parents after the incident that the smell was caused by a rooftop heating unit that was installed last summer. It was the second evacuation at the school since a gas odor was detected on Nov. 21, 2019.

“The smell was caused by a rooftop heating unit that was installed in the summer and still requires some adjustments,” Mazur wrote. “We are working with the contractors who installed these new units to resolve some of the ongoing issues we have been experiencing with them since November.”

Mazur said that all students and staff were accounted for and that Washington Gas inspected the unit in question and determined there to be no gas issue.

GW has experienced more than its share of facilities issues. A fire alarm at the school did not sound during a fire drill on Nov. 11, 2019. Three days later the alarm did not automatically sound when a poster was set on fire. On Nov. 18, an “intrusion alarm” signaling the opening of an emergency door unexpectedly went off in the front office. Three days later, on Nov. 21, the school was evacuated due to the smell of gas and the fire alarm failed to properly function.

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