SOUTH HAVEN | A natural gas leak in a house neighboring South Elementary School on Thursday morning shut down the area and nearly caused the evacuation of the school.
Officials received a call just before 11 a.m. of a strong odor of natural gas coming from the home at 751 McCool Road. The house backs up to the elementary school.
The incident initially prompted a call for the evacuation of the school. Instead students and staff were moved to the far east end of the building until the incident was over.
Officials set up a perimeter in the area of McCool Road and Midway Drive because of the potential danger of an explosion at the house.
Porter County Sheriff's Department spokesman Larry LaFlower said investigators found that water pipes had burst in the house, causing the floor and ceiling to collapse. The debris hit the gas line to the dryer, causing the leak.
The house is vacant and under foreclosure.
NIPSCO, Porter County Sheriff's police, Portage police, South Haven Fire Department and Portage Township Schools officials responded to the scene. The area was given the all clear just before 12:30 p.m.