Life is expected to return to normal Monday for staff and students at North Smyrna Elementary as the malfunctioning heater at the school that moved classes Thursday and cancelled school Friday has been fixed.

A message on the Smyrna School District website Friday said the heater is now functional and classes will resume their regular schedule on Monday, Feb. 4.

North Smyrna Elementary students were evacuated Thursday morning due to a gas leak caused by the heater malfunction. Students and staff were bused to Smyrna Middle School where they completed the day.

The school district website said a decision would be announced later in the day regarding what the school would do for Friday. Thursday afternoon a message was again posted on the district website stating the school would be open Friday, but Superintendent Debbie Wicks said the decision was made later on to cancel school for North Smyrna students on Friday.

"We thought it was going to be fine but then when custodians went in, there was still a faint smell of gas," Wicks said. "It was enough for us to say we need to take a look at this again so unfortunately we had to close for the day."

Wicks said the school has two heaters, one of which is a back-up boiler. Two different contractors were working on both boilers and they are both fixed; therefore, North Smyrna students will have school on Monday.

Citizens' Hose Company No. 1 responded Thursday to North Smyrna Elementary on North Main Street at roughly 8:30 a.m. for report of a gas leak.

Fire department Public Information Officer Eugene Tucker said when the department arrived school officials had already evacuated the school and called Chesapeake Utilities.

"Firefighters narrowed down the source of the leak to the area of the boiler room and checked the classrooms with gas detectors to assure there were no additional hazards present," Tucker said.

Clayton Fire Company, American Legion Ambulance 64, and Kent County Paramedics were also on the scene. Approximately 10 units with 50 personnel, under the direction of First Assistant Chief Jay Pappas, took 32 minutes to bring the incident under control.

Tucker said there were no injuries or damage to the structure as a result of the leak and the scene was cleared at 8:56 a.m. and turned back over to school officials and Chesapeake Utilities representatives.

Email Jennifer Dailey at