|Washington Gas crews repair the damage to a gas line on Columbia Pike.|
Construction workers accidentally damaged a gas line on Columbia Pike in the afternoon just before parents were scheduled to pick up their children from the preschool and early learning program. The construction involves a short segment of sidewalk along Columbia Pike next to the AUM property.
“People started smelling gas. It was really strong,” said Cherrie Welch, director of the weekday preschool and early learning programs at AUMC.
“Fire trucks and parents were arriving at the same time,” Welch said. The fire department closed portions of Columbia Pike and Evergreen Lane, creating traffic backups.
“The fire chief was debating whether to close the building and keep everyone inside, even parents who had arrived already to pick up their children. I thought we should get everyone as far away as possible,” she said. So the Fire Department agreed to let everyone leave and directed parents to exit on Alpine Drive.
Parents of children of about 75 children in the extended-day program and child development center were called and asked to pick them up early. People didn’t know about the alternative ways to access the building, so there was a lot of confusion.
The building didn’t have hot water or heat early this morning, so the preschool programs had a delayed opening.