Small gas leak closes Greenback School again

By: Mark Edwards Email
By: Mark Edwards Email

GREENBACK, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "This is a travesty. I've never seen anything this pitiful in my life."

Cathie Johnson is mad. Ten times this year gas leaks at her kids' school have forced evacuations and missed classes.

"That my children have to come to a school, go into a classroom and not know whether they're going to come home that day, and I have to worry that they're not going to. I'm not doing it," Johnson told WVLT.

This morning, as the Building Committee was meeting inside the library, workers noticed the tenth gas leak since school started this year.

"It was in the girls' locker room. We detected a smell of gas as the crew was working in there, putting in cable, they detected a smell of gas. We checked it, we had a very, very small leak," said Greenback FIre Chief Ronnie Lett.

Just two weeks ago, another gas leak shut down classes at Greenback for four days. This has frustrated everyone associated with the school.

"I cannot even begin to make an excuse for this. I want them to understand that we're doing all that we can in our power to see that this school's safe," Principal Joey Breedlove, said.

As Cathie Johnson takes her two kids home she's not sure when or if they'll be back.

"This school and nobody else is going to make my children come to this school, and I'm taking my kids home, and when somebody has a problem with it and wants to know where my kids are, they know where they can find me."


GREENBACK, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Two weeks to the day after a gas leak forced a week-long closure at Greenback School in Loudon County, firefighters detect another leak, this time in the gymnasium.

Only the gymnasium has been evacuated and the gas has been turned off in that area.

Greenback Fire Chief Ronnie Lett says the problem stems from a heater with a plug-in line in one of the locker rooms.

The leak is being plugged and the heating unit will be replaced by the end of the day.

Greenback Principal Joey Breedlove says it is very disheartening to be dealing with another gas leak so soon after repairs were made.

He says he just wants the children to be educated in a safe environment.

School will dismiss at the normal time.

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  • by Mary Location: Lenir City on Jan 20, 2010 at 03:04 PM
    I would think ya"ll would get this problem fixed instead of constantly having students miss important school time. The bad thing is people schedule their vacations around the breaks school has and now these children are going to have to make up this time for something that is not their fault. Also shame on loudon county school system for not hurrying and getting the kids a new safe school.
  • by Shane White Location: Lenoir City on Jan 20, 2010 at 02:48 PM
    It is sad to say that we will endanger our own children before we will fix the problem. I think the committee members don't understand that they are appointed and can easily be replaced. At what point do we continue to ignore the problem. The heater in question was a used one out of another school. Why was it replaced to begin with? At some point common sense needs to take over but the more I see on the news and around our country that I am starting to wonder if anyone has any anymore. Tne hard working Americans see the problems but then again we are paying for something that we get less out of everyday.
  • by Judy Location: Maryville on Jan 20, 2010 at 02:08 PM
    Yes, this is a serious situation. However, pulling your children out is not the answer. The answer is for Loudon County to step up to the plate and build Greenback a new school that has been promised to them.It is also sad to see all this negative attention that has been put on the school.Greenback school is filled with a great staff who love the kids. The teachers know all the students and the students know their teachers. There is truely no child left behind here. Please pray for this school and it's staff that they will stay safe until the board decides to be fair.
  • by Chuck Location: Knoxville on Jan 20, 2010 at 11:41 AM
    After all of this I think I would be looking for another school for my kid. This doen't sound like a safe sitution when you consider the possibility of a gas explosion.


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