Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:47PM - 345 Views

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There's nothing like a good neighbor. The students, teachers and staff of the Schuyler Avenue Elementary School in Kingston discovered that on Monday when an underground natural gas line ruptured 100 feet from the school.


Along with homes in the vicinity, firefighters told the teachers and staff the school building had to be evacuated immediately. Because natural gas filled the air, the students wouldn't be able to stand in the usual designated areas outside. They moved into the parking lot across the street.


While the students and staff waited for transportation to arrive, the manager of the Thomas' Market recognized the situation and offered refuge, inviting the 200 students, plus teachers and staff into the grocery store.


Remember, Thomas' Market is a business. Packing the aisles with a few hundred kids doesn't fit the model of ease and convenience for shoppers. But we suspect the store management wasn't making a financial decision; they made a community decision. And without hesitation, according to Wyoming Valley West School District.


Thankfully the day ended without incident. Students were bused to another school. Emergency responders had control of the situation, the gas leak was repaired and the students returned to the Schuyler Avenue school in time for lunch and an afternoon of classes.


Police, firefighters and school faculty and staff deserve credit for successfully executing response plans. Let's also thank the management of Thomas' Market who, without preparation, stepped in to help.


It is worth recalling that in October the locally owned business took a chance and opened a new store in flood-ravaged Shickshinny. Thomas' Market co-owner Chris Evans told a Times Leader reporter I've been in this business for 29 years now ... and I've never had a municipality or a group of people so excited to have a business come to their town as the people of Shickshinny.


That's something people know throughout this area: There's nothing like a good neighbor.




… Thomas' Market recognized the situation and offered refuge, inviting the 200 students, plus teachers and staff into the grocery store.



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