Police and fire crews responded to a reported smell of gas at Ritchie Park Elementary School Friday morning Credit: Jennifer Farkas

Updated – 11:51 a.m. – Students at Ritchie Park Elementary School on Dunster Road in Rockville were evacuated around 9:30 a.m. Friday after they reported smelling gas, according to Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Derek Turner.

Turner said the smell is believed to be coming from a nearby pool and initially said no serious inhalation or other injuries were reported. The school is located next door to Potomac Woods Swim Club.

Rockville spokeswoman Marylou Berg said in an email at 11:45 that several students complained of headaches and nausea. About 40 students were being evaluated on a medical bus and two are being transported to a hospital, according to Berg. She said fire crews recorded low to no levels of gas when conducting readings in the building. 

Multiple police and fire vehicles responded to the school. Students were moved across the street from the school and were held there while first responders worked at the scene. Berg said as of 11:40 a.m. the building has been declared safe and students and staff are in the process of reoccupying the school. Many parents arrived at the school to pick up their children after the incident was reported, according to Berg.

Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said crews were dispatched to the school after the odor was reported and the school was evacuated as a precaution. He did not immediately have any details about the possible source of the odor.


Photo via Jennifer Farks