Oakland elementary school goes without heat, gas service since last week

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Staff and administrators at an Oakland elementary school are trying to find ways to keep kids comfortable: They've been without gas service since last week. 

That means that without gas service, there’s also no central heat and no hot meal prep at Brookfield Elementary School.

School district officials did bring in 18 space heaters to try and make the students and staff more comfortable. The school said those heaters couldn't warm a marshmallow, so the district brought in some large heaters, put them in the classrooms and they seem to be working out better. 

But this outage comes at a time when the Bay Area has experienced some of the coldest temperatures this school year.

"They really don't want to go to school because they had to wear two coats," said Dorinda Bowens, one of the students' aunts. 

The problem began last Thursday, when a gas leak was discovered at the school. According to Oakland Unified spokesman John Sasaki, crews came out and shut off the gas. Students were evacuated as a precaution, but once the gas leak was shut off, they returned for the rest of the day and went all day Friday and Monday without any central heating or hot meals.

Since then it's been layering on sweaters and coats. 

"There was a ot of nervousness around it. We just made sure the gas was off and the kids were safe," said Principal Marie Roberts. 

With last weeks gas explosion in San Francisco, no one wanted to take any chances. 

Some seem to be taking it in stride. "Id rather the gas be off then it be on and have a problem. We can bundle up," said Angelique Johnson, a student's mother. 

Of course having to shut off the gas means the school kitchen can't provide warm breakfasts and lunches to the students. They've had to rely on sandwiches and cold cereal. 

Repairing the gas leak in order to restore heat, has been more complicated than expected.

Officials said the repair is supposed to take several days up to a week. It was delayed last week because of the rain.

On the bright side, the school said Wells Fargo is donating pizza for the entire school for lunch this Wednesday through Friday.