All Oakland public schools have been dismissed early today because of a strong odor of natural gas spreading through the city, school district officials said.
Initially the school district evacuated only five schools in the West Oakland, downtown and Lake Merritt areas, but said about 3:30 p.m. that all schools citywide, including preschools, would be dismissed.
Parents are being asked to pick up their children as soon as possible.
"We heard from principals that there was vomiting at some sites, some kids were nauseous. And when they tried to enter the school after PG&E said that it was safe, the smell was just too overpowering," said Troy Flint, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District. "I'm sure that PG&E was right that there was no threat or danger, which is something that we informed our parents."
School district officials said the smell appears to be the result of an incident at a PG&E facility. A fire dispatcher said the source of the smell appears to be in West Oakland.