Unexpected Gas Leak Springs at Bowditch Middle School


Alexandra Pursnani, Journalist/Editor

Gas leaks are unfortunately quite common. The reason I say unfortunate is because they can be extremely dangerous. They are mostly composed of methane and are therefore flammable in open air. 


When a gas leak occurs, it takes the place of the oxygen in closed off spaces by simply pushing it out. This event transpires when a gas-burning contraption or gas line leaks.


This same incident recently occurred at our school, Bowditch Middle School. It was 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday evening February 9th, 2022 when the choir/orchestra teacher, Mr. Song, reported what he assumed was a gas leak based on what he smelled. The school custodian was alerted and came at around 6:45 p.m. He had brought a gas radar with him and began scanning the room until it started beeping in a room where the leak had been. Immediately he climbed to the roof and as soon as he recognized danger, informed Mr. Song that he needed to leave immediately. 


PGE (pacific gas and electric company) was eventually informed as well as the school principal, Mr. Bowers. Once he was alerted, Mr. Bowers sent an email to all families saying:


      Dear Bowditch Community, 

Last night on Wednesday, 2/9/22 our staff became aware of the smell of natural gas near the music building. The San Mateo Foster City School District Maintenance & Operations Department along with the fire department and PG&E Responded. A leak was discovered and the gas was shut off in the specific area. There were no students on campus during this time. Crews will be working over the next few days after school to resolve the issue. We are thankful for our staff’s quick response to the situation. 

According to Mr. Mac, the Band teacher of Bowditch, there is a gas line that runs outside of the music building which they shut off along with the heat. 

It did not take more than a couple days to fix as we were let back in on Friday to grab our instruments. Thank goodness for that because this situation was difficult for everyone. The music room is across the school from most classrooms and right next to PE, so the people coming from PE might’ve had to take a longer way around as there was caution tape blocking off one of the exits. This is besides the fact that the band couldn’t play any music because a lot of the students with bigger instruments kept them in the band room, which was locked down.

Unfortunately this was all the information I could gather about this incident, but one piece of information that you could gather from this article is that gas leaks are super dangerous not only because of their flammability, but because of how unexpected they are. Nobody was expecting this to happen and were therefore unprepared and caught by surprise. Our whole school owes a big thanks to Mr. Song because if he wasn’t there when it happened, it could have been far worse.