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Strong gas odor prompted evacuations in Oakland

All Oakland public schools were dismissed early on Thursday because of a strong odor of natural gas spreading through the city, school district officials said.

Initially the school district only evacuated five schools in the West Oakland, downtown and Lake Merritt areas, but said at about 3:30 p.m. that all schools citywide, including preschools, will be dismissed.

Parents are being asked to pick up their children as soon as possible.

School district officials said the smell appears to be a result of an incident at a PG&E facility. A fire dispatcher said the source of the smell appears to be in West Oakland.

PG&E officials said that they are investigating the source of the smell but have not determined where it's coming from.



PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said PG&E has received reports about the smell primarily in the downtown Oakland, West Oakland and Lake Merritt areas but PG&E crews are still working to determine its source.

City spokeswoman Karen Boyd said that City Hall, the Ronald Dellums Federal Building and other downtown office buildings were evacuated because of the smell as of about 1:30 p.m. but the evacuation was lifted at about 2:30 p.m.

A BART dispatcher said that BART received reports of the odor from the 12th Street, 19th Street, Lake Merritt, West Oakland and Embarcadero stations.

The smell has not caused any disruption in BART service and the fire department checked the stations and everything there is safe, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

Alameda fire officials said that the smell was also noticeable in their city.

Related Topics:
evacuationgas fumesinvestigationBARTtrafficPG&Eschool evacuationOaklandLake MerrittDowntown OaklandWest Oakland
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