Daycare center sends children home due to reported gas leak - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Daycare center sends children home due to reported gas leak

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Columbia Gas told CBS 3 that when they responded to a reported gas leak in Indian Orchard on Thursday morning, it turned out to be an underground electrical facility that ignited.

When their workers reached the ignition point, there was no reading of gas.  They also said despite initial reports of an evacuation, there was not one.

While parents were called to pick up their children from A Brighter Future Childcare, which is located at the Main Street Mini Plaza, Columbia Gas said the students were already located at Myrtle Street Park.

The company said the authorities advised the childcare to keep the children in the park until the scene was cleared and it was the daycare's decision to call the parents for pick-up.


"I called Springfield Public Schools to have lunches delivered here and immediately started calling the parents, to let them know the safest thing is to get the children home," said Michele Pepe, owner of A Brighter Future.

"[I was] nervous, scared, because it is my children," said Alissa Santiago, who has two children that attend the daycare center. "They are the most important thing in my life."

For Santiago, that call brought back memories of last November, when a gas leak caused Scores gentlemen's club to explode and damaged a nearby daycare center in Downtown.

"A scary thought that an explosion like that happened, especially with my kids and me somewhere else," said Santiago.

Pepe was following protocols put in place by the Massachusetts Department of Education. She said over the past two years, the group has made it a priority for daycares like hers to be ready for any natural disaster.

"Every month we have to prepare for a fire drill, emergency evacuation. How we are going to get out of the building and where we are going to go," said Pepe.

While preparation does calm the nerves, Pepe said she will never be relaxed in that kind of a situation.

"You are still nervous because you are dealing with infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers," Pepe stated. "The kids from one month old to five years old, so any time there is a child you are still going to be nervous."

Pepe said the children never showed any signs of stress during the incident.

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