About 1,700 students from three Davenport schools were evacuated for about 20 minutes Monday morning after staff smelled what they thought was natural gas, Davenport Community School District spokeswoman Dawn Saul said.
The odor was widespread and prompted some employees to leave Genesis Medical Center-West Central Park Avenue, according to a Genesis spokesman.
But MidAmerican Energy said there was no gas leak in its system Monday and raised the possibility that it was not natural gas that created the odor.
MidAmerican said it received several reports from the Davenport area about a natural gas smell, spokesman Tim Grabinski said. The source of the odor has not been determined.
Students and staff were evacuated from North High School, 626 W. 53rd St., Harrison Elementary School, 1032 W. 53rd St., and Kimberly Center, 1002 W. Kimberly Road, Saul said.
The school district received calls of a strong odor from eight schools about 10 a.m., Saul said, adding the area affected was widespread.
She said principals at each school made the decision to evacuate depending on whether the odor was stronger inside or outside.
“All the kids are fine,” Saul said about noon. “People acted quickly to make sure the kids were OK.”
The five other schools affected were Smart Intermediate, 1934 W. 5th St.; Monroe Elementary, 1926 W. 4th St.; Adams Elementary, 3029 N. Division St.; Williams Intermediate, 3040 N. Division St.; and Children’s Village West, 1757 W 12th St.
Genesis Health System spokesman Craig Cooper said a noticeable odor affected Pavilion 1 and the second floor of Genesis Medical Center on its West campus about 10 a.m.
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Several employees left the building on their own because they were nauseated. Several employees who felt sick went outside or went home. There was not an official evacuation, however, he said. Several employees left and returned later when the odor dissipated.
Four patients did not receive scheduled radiation treatments at the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.
The Davenport Fire Department was called and ran monitors in Pavilion 1 but did not find unusual levels of natural gas at the site, he added.
Such an incident has happened at least twice in recent months, Cooper said.
It’s also the second time this school year that Davenport schools have had to be evacuated because of an odor that officials thought was natural gas, Saul said. Last month, Smart Intermediate, Monroe Elementary, Adams Elementary and Williams Intermediate were evacuated.