School investigates gas odor in building

Natalia Molina, Website Editor-in-Chief

UPDATE: 12:38 p.m.: Students will now be dismissed early starting at 12:45 p.m. Stichler sent the email below at 12:34 to parents and faculty/staff.


As the concerning odor progressed, we evacuated the building at the recommendation of the Caney Creek Fire Department. We will now be dismissing early beginning at 12:45 PM. Buses will begin running their routes early at 1:15 PM.

We are incredibly frustrated with this situation as we know you and your students are, too. Additional resources are being brought in today to further investigate the cause of the recurring odor and find a solution. We will keep you updated as we know more.

Thank you for your understanding.

Jeff Stichler, Principal


UPDATE 12:24 p.m.: Benson announced at 12:23 p.m. that all students and teachers to evacuate the building. Principal Dr. Jeffrey Stichler sent the email below to parents and faculty/staff.


To keep you informed, I wanted to let you know that the concerning odor appears to be returning to the building. The Caney Creek Fire Department is at the school to assist in trying to determine the source. We are currently evaluating the situation with various District departments and will update you as soon as possible with information about the remainder of the day.

Thank you for your support.

Jeff Stichler, Principal


UPDATE 4/4: East Montgomery County Fire Department arrived to the school around 11 a.m. after a strong odor in the 3400 hallway was reported. The hallway has been evacuated and the Montgomery County Health Department EMS are aiding any students who are feeling nauseous and sick. Updates to be posted.


UPDATE: Associate Principal of Instruction, Dr. Terri Benson, called a faculty meeting after school where she addressed the gas leak concerns at 1:34 p.m. shortly after students were dismissed.

The fire department and maintenance worked through to solve the odor problem, but it was only getting worse as time went by according to her. Hallways like the 4100, 4200, and 4300 were all displaced to the main gym because of the strong odor.

Benson then got a call from the district Superintendent Dr. Curtis Null, and they managed to arrange buses to dismiss students at 1 p.m. instead of normal dismissal.

“We pushed up the chain in command and I got a phone call from Dr. Null that said we could have buses there at 1 o’clock if you can get it arranged and I said, ‘Get the buses here,'” Benson said. “So all of the district made it happen that they got the buses here.”

Throughout the midst of it all, the school was never in any sort of imminent danger Benson said.

“I called Barbara Robertson (district Director of Health Services), I called CDC, we were never in any kind of danger,” she said. “But the reality is: is there much learning going on? When we have headaches and nausea and sore throats. No. When we have to displace half the building is there any learning going on? No. If we get the kids out and have maintenance do what they need to do to solve the problem right now. Yes. So maintenance is going to start working right now instead of waiting until three.”

However, the cause of the odor is still unknown.

“We want to get it fixed and resolved, and right now we don’t have an answer as what the cause was,” Benson said.

UPDATE: The school sent the email below at 12:26 p.m. to faculty and parents. Students will now be released early at 1 p.m.

Due to a concerning odor, Caney Creek HS will dismiss at 1 PM today. Bus routes will also run early. We will update you as we learn more about the issue.

UPDATE: Students have now been let back into the school just before 8 a.m. and reported to first period. The AP English Literature IV test is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.


Caney Creek was evacuated this morning around 7:02 a.m. after the smell of gas was reported in the building.

Administration called the fire department to investigate the smell. They are currently waiting to determine whether the smell is gas. Students were moved to the football field until further notice.

“To keep you informed, CCHS was evacuated this morning due to a gas smell near the cafeteria,” Principal Dr. Jeff Stichler said in a message to the community. “The Caney Creek Fire Department and CISD Maintenance Department are investigating the source, and gas has been shut off to the building while the matter is being addressed. We anticipate being able to re-enter the building shortly. Preparations have been made for cold lunches if necessary, and fans are being brought in to help circulate the air. Thank you for your patience and understanding this morning.”

The AP English Literature IV test has been rescheduled as well.