UPDATE: Hundreds of pupils evacuated after nursery gas leak

A Horsham school and nursery have been evacuated and closed after a gas leak today (Tuesday January 22).

Heron Way Primary School also shut its doors this morning after a suspected gas leak.

JPCT 22-01-13 S13040911X Kingslea Primary school. Horsham. Evacuation due to gas leak. Nigel Goodall headmaster  -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 22-01-13 S13040911X Kingslea Primary school. Horsham. Evacuation due to gas leak. Nigel Goodall headmaster -photo by Steve Cobb

Kingslea Primary School, in Kings Road, was forced to evacuate all 407 pupils to the playground and has asked parents to pick up their children after gas mains leak at neighbouring Horsham Nursery School Children and Family Centre.

Headteacher Nigel Goodall told the County Times ‘the situation was exacerbated’ by a different smell of chemical which has drifted over the Channel from a factory in Rouen, France.

He said: “We had information that there was a smell of gas at about 11.10am.

“I called emergency services at 11.20am and they confirmed that there was a gas leak in France that was harmless. So we thought it was perfectly safe to carry on as normal.

“At 11.40am I had a call from the head at the [Horsham Nursery] and confirmed that there was a mains gas leak going into the nursery.”

The advice from contractors was to evacuate the building.

Mr Goodall ensured all parents were informed immediately.

“The situation was exacerbated by the smell from France,” he added.

Police arrived on the scene to oversee the evacuation process.

Kingslea will remain closed and parents will be contacted when it re-opens.

A statement on Horsham Nursery’s website reads: “The Nursery School, Under 3′s and Centre has been closed due to a gas leak. Further information and updates will be issued on this website.”

A spokeswoman for Southern Gas Networks told the County Times: “Southern Gas Networks were notified this morning of a smell of gas at Horsham Nursery School Children and Family Centre. The pupils were evacuated by the school.

“Our engineer attended quickly and discovered that there was a gas leak from the service pipe which we made safe. We currently have a team on site completing the repair.”

This morning staff at Heron Way Primary School contacted the gas board and was advised to close as a safety precaution after smelling gas.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said that this was before information about a chemical smell from France came to light.

He added the school will be closed for the rest of today (Tuesday January 22).

The Horsham Job Centre has also evacuated this morning as a precaution, but re-opened around lunch time.

“Anyone who was due to sign on today will not lose out on any benefits,” a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions explained.