Saanich firefighters block Travino Lane during an evacuation of Royal Oak middle school on Thursday at about 2 p.m. A suspected gas leak forced the evacuation. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich firefighters block Travino Lane during an evacuation of Royal Oak middle school on Thursday at about 2 p.m. A suspected gas leak forced the evacuation. Wolf Depner/News Staff

UPDATE: Students at Royal Oak middle school return to class after gas leak evacuation

Class interrupted for suspected gas leak at 2 p.m. Thursday

The head of the local school district says the evacuation of Royal Oak middle school Thursday afternoon went off as planned.

“We had a beautiful evacuation,” said David Eberwein, superintendent of schools and chief executive officer for Saanich School District 63.

An estimated number of 700 students plus faculty and staff evacuated from the school off West Saanich Road to a nearby park after receiving a report of a gas leak.

It’s believed a worker from a construction crew hit the gas line along Travino Lane a little after 1:30 p.m.

“FortisBC crews are currently on site at Travino Lane in Saanich making repairs to a damaged natural gas service line which was caused by a third party working in the area,” said a release from FortisBC. The company said its crews had shut off the gas by 1:50 p.m, with repairs said to be underway.

Members of the Saanich Fire Department responded and remained on scene until well after 2 p.m. Saanich Police also attended the scene, closing off access roads to the school and directing traffic in out and out of the area.

Students returned to school about 2:20 p.m. after having received the all-clear.

Eberwein said regular classes resumed after the incident, with classes concluding around 3 p.m.

Always call or click before you dig regarding the location of buried gas lines and other utilities, 1-800-474-6886 or bconecall.ca.

reporter@saanichnews.com