Gas leak closes Greenback School

By News Sentinel staff
Greenback School in Loudon County will be closed today because of a propane gas leak, school officials said.

According to school board member Lisa Russell, a student noticed vapor discharging from a propane tank about 5 p.m. and walked a few blocks to the fire station to report the problem. The fire department responded and immediately canceled all after-school activities.

The tank was being replaced and all propane tanks on the school property must be inspected before the school can reopen, Russell said.

Greenback School, the oldest school in Loudon County, was built in 1939. The school has been closed repeatedly over the past few years because of sewer and gas leaks. Numerous fire code violations forced a fire watch at the school during much of last year.

The school is scheduled to be replaced as part of a $20 million building program, though an $840,000 budget deficit has put the effort's future in doubt.

Propane leak forces evacuations in Greenback

By Jessica Stith
of The Daily Times Staff
A 1,000-gallon propane tank began leaking Monday evening, sending residents within an half-mile radius of Greenback School away from their homes.

Wayne Teeters, firefighter and paramedic for Greenback Volunteer Fire Department, said about 30 firefighters responded with 10 trucks to Greenback School on Cherokee Street at 5:05 p.m. on the report of a propane tank leaking at the school.

The tank was located at the back of the school off the agriculture campus. Teeter said a valve on the propane tank “released due to the extremely hot weather.” He said it was a “safety feature” on the propane tank to keep it from exploding.

About 150 feet away off Morganton Road, a neighbor was burning brush. The wind was burning the oppose direction and leaking propane did not catch fire.

Loudon County dispatchers sent out a reverse 9-1-1 to anyone within a half-mile radius of the school, evacuating them from the area. After firefighters put water on the propane tank and cooled it, nearby residents were informed that they could go back to their homes shortly after 6 p.m. Teeter said the propane tank company was then notified to respond.