Portola is very close to the site of last week's PG&E gas line explosion.
School leaders decided to evacuate the school as a precaution. Portola has 270 students so getting the kids out of class and into a safe location was not a small feat. Yellow school buses were brought in to shuttle the students.
Everyone was taken to Parkside Intermediate School.
San Bruno fire said that there was no gas leak, but said it was good that the school evacuated because "it is better to be safe than sorry."
They said the source of the smell was the school's heater, which was turned on for the first time Thursday.
Even with the all clear, the school day was called early for Portola. Parents were asked to pick up the students in the cafeteria at Parkside.
The same basic thing happened in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood in the afternoon. A school employee reported smelling natural gas, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Galileo Academy of Science was also evacuated as a precaution while PG&E checked things out. Students were allowed back to class after about 30 minutes.
San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said last week's explosion in San Bruno has led to "a moderate increase in calls" of people reporting the smell of gas. "It's to be expected," she told Bay City News. "It was a very traumatic event and people are frightened by it."
All emergency officials are encouraging people to continue calling for possible gas leaks.