Elementary schools evacuated due to nearby gas maintenance project

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – Two schools were evacuated Monday morning due to the smell of gas in the area, National City police said.

San Diego Gas & Electric crews were performing maintenance on gas lines at E 4th Street and Palm Avenue in National City around 8:50 a.m. A strong odor of gas was reported and school officials from El Toyon and Rancho de la Nación Schools decided to remove their students from classrooms and take them to other schools to have lunch.

By 10:30 a.m., National City School District tweeted that SDG&E and the local fire department gave an "all clear" and notified them that it was safe to return to the school.

Concerned parents were allowed to pick up their children if needed. The students were expected to return to their schools by 1 p.m. and resume classes.

The gas line work was not considered an emergency. SDG&E spokesman Joe Britton said the crews were doing a gas purge as a part of their pipeline safety enhancement program.

Claudia Moreno, who claims to live nearby, told FOX 5 residents were not notified of the construction.