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A strong gas smell caused Robbinsdale Elementary in southeastern Rapid City to briefly evacuate Friday, but no gas leak was detected. 

Rapid City Area Schools officials sent parents a text at about 9:15 a.m. that said Robbinsdale students were being moved to South Middle School "due to a strong odor of natural gas or sewer backup." 

Katy Urban, public information manager for the school district, said a strong smell of propane or natural gas swept through the school a little before 9 a.m., growing enough to prompt school officials to evacuate the building and call the Rapid City Fire Department. 

"Better safe than sorry," Urban said. 

The fire department quickly determined there was not a gas leak by about 9:15 a.m. Urban said Montana-Dakota Utilities Company also responded and confirmed there wasn't a leak.

The smell subsided almost as quickly as it started, Urban said, and officials aren't sure of the cause. Urban said students only made it about halfway to South Middle School before they were cleared to return to Robbinsdale and resume classes.  

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