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Thursday, Dec 05 2013 11:21 AM

Gas leak, lack of heat causes closure of Tompkins Elementary Thursday

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A contractor from J. Nobel Binns Plumbing Company cuts away a portion of the walkway near the Tompkins Elementary School Cafeteria to further expose a natural gas line for repair Thursday, Dec. 5. Repairs on the pipe, which supplies fuel the school's heating systems, caused a temporary closure when temperatures dropped Thursday morning. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

Parents pick up their children at Tompkins Elementary School after a broken gas line leak caused the school to be without heat Thursday, Dec. 5. According to school officials the school will remain closed as repairs are made, and they estimate classes may resume Friday or Monday. Gregory D. Cook/Tehachapi News

A gas leak around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night has resulted in the closure of Tompkins Elementary School Thursday, which continued through Friday.

Tehachapi Police Department officials reported the leak to Kern Fire, according to fire department public information officer Brett Grassi. SoCal Gas shut off the gas line last night, which means heat is unavailable in the building.

Terry Reible, secretary to the superintendent of Tehachapi Unified School District, stressed the issue is not the gas leak, but the inability to maintain an appropriate temperature in the building.

"Staff is working to correct the issues so school may resume as soon as possible," she said.

J. Nobel Binns Plumbing Company of Bakersfield was called in to repair the line, according to service manager Pete Harbison. He said workers are trying to complete the repair by Friday evening.

Harbison added that they had been called out last week during the school's Thanksgiving holiday break to fix another portion of the gas line that was leaking.

"The gas pipe has just gotten old and rotted," he said. "That happens anywhere."

According to officials on the scene Thursday, the pipe was already dug up and the hole was covered by a board when the leak began.

A TUSD representative is expected to release a statement later today.

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