Cape Elizabeth schools reopen after gas station cleanup

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Two schools reopened as usual Friday after students were sent home early Oct. 26 because of a gasoline spill at a nearby business.

Pond Cove Elementary School and Cape Elizabeth Middle School were evacuated between 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. after reports of a strong odor coming from a gasoline spill at Cumberland Farms on Ocean House Road, about 1,000 feet from the schools. 

Fire Chief Peter Gleeson said a customer who pumped too much gas caused the spill just before 9 a.m. 

There was no danger to students or staff at either of the schools, but the odor led officials to make the decision to evacuate. 

Gleeson said it was unclear how much gasoline was spilled. The fire department responded, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and a private contractor were called in to clean up. 

Cumberland Farms was closed while cleanup took place. When a reporter called Friday to find out when the store reopened, a Cumberland Farms employee hung up without saying anything.

Pond Cove Elementary School Principal Jason Manjourides said the odor could only be detected from wings at the north end of the elementary school.

He added that the evacuation went smoothly. 

“It took a little bit of time, but we had that because there was no imminent danger to students,” Manjourides said. “Because of the smell, it just wasn’t an environment to be in all day.”