An odor of gas, the second in four days, was reported late Thursday morning at Riverview Junior-Senior High School in Oakmont, forcing the evacuation of students and staff.

A smell of natural gas was reported about 10:45 a.m. in one of the school’s science rooms. Superintendent Neil English said students and staff were evacuated to Tenth Street Elementary School out of an abundance of caution.

There were no injuries. Students were fed lunch at Tenth Street and were then dismissed from school about 12:45 p.m.

“We just want to be as safe as we can,” English said. “Our biggest priority was to make sure the kids were safe and accounted for.”

High school students will have a virtual learning day Friday.

English said the leak was detected in one of the school’s science rooms on the side of the building closest to Oakmont Bakery.

“We believe that the pressurizing after the tests on Monday may have caused an additional leak,” he wrote in an email sent to parents Thursday afternoon. “To be 100% certain that no gas continues to leak, the gas to those lines are being capped off and turned off at the high school indefinitely.”

The first gas leak was detected by people in the school’s kitchen area Monday. It occurred during the district’s winter break, while no students or staff were inside the building. Those who were inside were evacuated.

“Natural gas will not be available until all the classroom lines can be completely removed and reinstalled with brand new piping,” English’s email stated. “In addition, we have asked our independent contractors and the gas company to complete a full school building check on every exposed fitting in the school tomorrow.”

Since the leak was from a line within the building, it is the school’s responsibility, Peoples Gas spokesman Nick Paradise said.

Paradise said, when crews performed a safety check after Monday’s leak, they noticed some maintenance and upkeep issues with burners in the science rooms.

“Our team identified this and made clear with school staff to make sure what needs to be done before they could use gas in those specific rooms,” Paradise said.

The rest of the building was clear, and school operated as normal Tuesday and Wednesday. Peoples advised Riverview to keep the gas off in the science rooms until a contractor was available to repair it, Paradise said.

“(Thursday), what apparently happened was someone turned gas on to one of those rooms and someone smelled gas,” Paradise said.

But English said that wasn’t the case.

“The gas in that classroom has not been turned on in over a year,” English wrote in an email. “I think it was more of the result of the lines being repressurized as a result of the tests on Monday, and that causing a small leak on one of the fittings.”

Parents initially were notified of Thursday’s leak and dismissal information through a robocall, emails and posts sent Thursday morning by the district.

The Oakmont Fire Department and Peoples Gas crews responded to the scene about 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

Friday’s virtual classes will operate on a delayed-opening schedule, starting at 9:40 a.m., English said.

Students will be able to enter the school at their designated times Friday to pick up belongings left behind when the school was evacuated.

All students who are usually bused to school will have the opportunity to ride the bus at their normal morning pickup time to retrieve their belongings. They will have 15 minutes to gather their belongings before returning to the their bus to be driven home in time for the start of virtual learning.

Gas testing will not begin until everyone is out of the high school building, English said.

Tenth Street and Verner elementary schools will operate on a normal schedule Friday.

Kellen Stepler is a TribLive reporter covering the Allegheny Valley and Burrell school districts and surrounding areas. He joined the Trib in April 2023. He can be reached at