A rupture in a natural gas pipeline caused the temporary evacuation of Hemet High School. Construction crews near the high school hit a gas pipeline about 9:20 a.m. Thursday morning, Oct. 6.

“I made the decision to evacuate to the football stadium [on the opposite side of Stetson Avenue from the class rooms],” said Principal Dr. Emily Shaw. One of the planned evacuation paths would have gone through the new construction area and she chose not to take any risk and sent students and faculty in the opposite direction.

Once Hemet Fire Department and other emergency responders arrived, Stetson Avenue was closed and the evacuation proceeded more quickly, she added.

While students and faculty congregated and waited in the stadium, musical entertainment was broadcast to students through the speaker systems until it was safe to return to the buildings.

The disruption lasted about 90 minutes. A potential disaster and tragedy was averted, according to Shaw.