176 Java St. (Google Maps)

Gas odors resulted in the temporary evacuation of preschool children from the Greenpoint YMCA’s Early Childhood Center in the Polish and Slavic Center at 176 Java St. on Thursday morning, according to a parent whose child was evacuated.

The YMCA Early Childhood Program director Linda Leahy alerted parents around 9 a.m. this morning that gas odors were detected on the third floor of the building, according to the Greenpoint parent.

A teacher at the preschool said that the smell was from a potential gas leak and that the odor was strong enough for the children to be evacuated to the Greenpoint YMCA at 99 Meserole Ave. in the rain.

FDNY arrived at 176 Java St and determined the building to be safe; school staff and children returned to the building around noon today.

Separately, a rash of reported gas vapors seeping into residential buildings centered around Huron and Freeman Streets lead to a community meeting in Greenpoint earlier this month with the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, North Brooklyn Neighbors and local elected reps.

The North Brooklyn Neighbors map of recently reported gas vapors (blue markers are vapors reported prior to the meeting; orange markers are reported indoor vapors; smaller orange dots are reported outdoor vapors; yellow markers are both indoor and outdoor vapor reports)

At the vapor meeting, DEC confirmed that they are testing the homes where vapors are reported and that the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection has been actively flushing and testing the sewer lines for petroleum vapors near Huron Street and Manhattan Avenue. Residents at least two Greenpoint apartments have been relocated due to the vapors.

Most of DEP’s vapor readings do not indicate petroleum product, however, DEC rep Rodney Rivera said that from time to time elevated petroleum vapors have been detected in the sewer lines by DEP and that the source could be from a multitude of illegal dumpers.

Rivera also admitted that his team of three was limited in their ability to find illegal dumpers and urged the public to keep an active watch and to report any dumping. He added that DEC did check the tanks at nearby gas stations on McGuiness Boulevard and found no leaks.

While the source of the petroleum vapors has not been identified, DEP “no longer think the issue is a tank leaking but are starting to look into traffic accidents as a potential cause,”¬†according to an email update on Wednesday from the North Brooklyn Neighbors.

A second vapor meeting will take place on June 12th. If you smell petroleum vapors call the DEC Spill Hotline at 1-800-457-7362, call 311 (write down the complaint number), and contact Greenpointers and North Brooklyn Neighbors.




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  1. The community needs clarification. Was the preschool evacuated due to gasoline vapors or natural gas?

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