The apparent mishandling of a small amount of gasoline that mysteriously ended up in a storm drain caused the evacuation of an entire school and a monstrous emergency response Friday.
Forty-two children and two adults were evaluated by first responders after children became nauseated by gasoline fumes wafting through the Ritchie Park School located at 1514 Dunster Road at about 10 a.m.
Two children were sent to hospitals as a precaution. There were no injuries. The school was reopened at noon after firefighters ventilated the building and determined there were no hazardous levels of fumes.
The problem was traced to a narrow storm drain a the neighboring Potomac Woods Swim Club. Firefighters determined a small amount of gasoline was trapped in the drain, spreading fumes to the nearby school.
"We don't know what the source of the fuel was. It probably wasn't an intentional spill," said Montgomery County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Dan Ogren.
The matter has been handed off to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection for investigation.
The incident closed Dunster Road for more than an hour because of the large number of emergency vehicles that responded.
Children and staff from the school were evaluated in the county's mass casualty bus, which was brought to the scene.