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Gas leaks at Turlock High cause for emergency repair
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After the huge gas explosion in San Bruno last month, when someone smells the hint of gas there is no hesitation to call for an inspection by PG&E.

And there was no hesitation on the part of a Turlock High School night-time custodian four weeks ago, when he smelt a gas leak somewhere on the west side of the high school campus.

The custodian made a call to PG&E that night to report the gas leak, said Scott Richardson, Turlock Unified School District director of maintenance and operations. Gas was immediately shut off in that area.

Gas has been turned off in the main line of service for the past month while staff has been searching for leaks throughout the pipe, Richardson said. The main line runs between Colorado and Berkeley avenues serving as the main pipe with other lines running off through the district offices, the library, girls gym and the entire west side of the campus.

Staff found multiple leaks that would have taken months to fix — and would mean no heating for classrooms during the upcoming winter.

“It would not have been fixed in time for winter,” Richardson said.

The district went to the Stanislaus County Office of Education and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Don Gatti declared the gas leak an emergency due to safety and health code hazards.

With the declaration of emergency, TUSD does not have to advertise for bids to replace the main pipe. By not sending out these bids, the pipe can be fixed before winter.

The TUSD Board of Trustees approved a contract on Tuesday with Nicro, Inc. for an estimated cost not to exceed $77,391, to fix the pipes. Funding for this replacement will come from the deferred maintenance funds, Richardson said.

Richardson is hoping the pipe will be fixed by the end of this week with the heat turned back on in the beginning of next week just in time for the rain.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.