Argyle Middle School

Argyle Middle School students leave after the first day of school in 2016.

Students at Argyle Middle School were temporarily evacuated Monday morning because of the smell of gas. 

Argyle ISD police determined that Atmos Energy had conducted a planned release of gas, according to the police's Twitter account

An excerpt of the post read: "Atmos will be making notifications in the future to prevent unnecessary responses."

Celina Cardenas, a representative of Atmos Energy, said via email Monday afternoon: "In fact there was no release of natural gas — the smell was caused by an accidental release of mercaptan [the harmless 'rotten egg' odorant added to natural gas for safety reasons] while performing routine maintenance ... ."

Parents received text messages, emails or voicemails based on what they had signed up for, said Pamela Arrington, district spokeswoman. Parents across the district were sent either a text or email, and parents of middle schoolers were sent an recorded voicemail.

Students evacuated at approximately 10:25 a.m., and the first groups were back in class within about 15 minutes, said Superintendent Telena Wright.

District employees were working to relocate students to Argyle High School roughly 4 miles away. Wright said no students made it to the high school by the time administrators realized the smell of gas was a false alarm. 

"The smell of gas was pervasive," Wright said. "This [evacuation] was in an abundance of caution." 

The Flower Mound Fire Department, which serves the area where the middle school is located, responded and determined there was no gas leak inside or near the building, Wright said. 

Argyle ISD police Sgt. Robert Mastropiero works out of the middle school campus. Wright said he called Atmos Energy. 

Wright said a school hasn't been evacuated under these circumstances before, but this isn't the first time people have been worried because of Atmos activity at a nearby well located along Stonecrest Road. 

She thinks the smell simply got carried a mile or two south by the wind.

"When they were doing some drilling around here, we used to have some people that would show concern or ask some questions about the drilling," Wright said. She estimated the bulk of that drilling happened between 2008 and 2010. 

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

Recommended for you