Phantom Gas Smell Prompts Downtown School Evacuations

LOS ANGELES -- Two schools near downtown Los Angeles were evacuated for about two hours Thursday while authorities investigated the source of a "strong smell of natural gas," which was not found, authorities said.

Firefighters were sent to the 1200 block of South Long Beach Avenue at about 8:25 a.m., said d'Lisa Davies of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Five students were evaluated at the scene after reporting they felt ill. One of the five, a 14-year-old boy with asthma, was transported for hospital examination, Davies said.

Personnel from the Southern California Gas Co. and the county health department were sent to the scene, but the source of the odor was not located, Davies said. The school is just north of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway near Santa Fe Avenue.

A spokesperson for the Gas Company said their equipment in the area was inspected and had not malfunctioned.

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