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Info on emergency evacuation on September 13th

Here's the text of the letter sent home by Mr. Gibson on September 15, 2021 to follow up the incident of September 13th, with some added info.


Dear Pipestone Parents:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

I am writing to share information with you and our school community about the incident of Monday,  September 13, 2021, and to let you know about what will happen with instruction for students over the next couple of days.  

We are especially thankful that everyone was always safe and secure despite the need to evacuate and send students home. You can be very proud of your child for remaining calm and following instructions.  Our staff are commended for their calm, patient, caring leadership of our students.  Our bus drivers are greatly appreciated for their immediate response and contacting as many parents as possible.  Some students were picked up from school by parents and we thank all parents who came to the school and followed the staff instructions on student release.  

Here is a summary of the events:

  • At about 9:15 a.m. while contracted workers were working on our recently installed boilers in our basement, there was a natural gas ignition problem. There was no fire, or external damage to the boiler.  

  • It appears that somehow the boiler malfunctioned which resulted in a bang which was loud and resulted in some vibration.

  • It was determined within seconds that the building had to be evacuated and we began our emergency response protocols. 

  • Evacuation was initiated by an announcement and fire alarm. 

  • Within three minutes of the incident, our WRPS central administration emergency response team and I were communicating. First and foremost, everyone was accounted for and safely evacuated. As the incident evolved it was determined that students would be sent home as soon as could be safely arranged, and the school would be closed.

  • Some parents arrived at school and students were safely released and accounted for by staff.

  • Our three school buses began arriving at about 9:45 and drivers began calling parents to determine best plans for student transportation.

  • County of Wetaskiwin Peace Officers, Mulhurst Fire Department, WRPS Maintenance, ATCO Gas, RCMP and EMS arrived and along with the contracted workers who were on site, were very thorough in assessing and managing the situation.

  • Our students and staff remained outside in our muster area. At 10:20, after getting all the information from responders, I gave permission for students and staff to briefly re-enter the school building to get their personal items.

  • At 10:50 the buses left our school with students who had not been picked up by parents.  Alternate plans were made to support students who could not be picked up or sent home on the bus. 

Follow up.  School was safe and re-opened on Thursday, September 16.  On September 15th, WRPS had representatives from the company that made the boiler, inspect it on make the situation safe for everyone's return.  Out of an abundance of caution, school was closed to all students and staff on September 13 from 10:45 until end of day on September 15th.   

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