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Construction workers cause gas leak on campus

Students, faculty forced to evacuate college for two hours

By Lorenzo Morotti, associate editor
On April 10, 2014

  • Students wait outside of the Student Services Center due to a gas leak caused by construction workers working on a pipeline on Library Drive on Thursday. George Morin / The Advocate
  • Students wait on Mills drive by Lot 10 due to a gas leak caused by construction workers working on a pipeline on Library Drive on Thursday. George Morin / The Advocate
  • Students evacuate the Health Sciences and Applied Arts buildings due to a gas leak caused by construction workers working on a pipeline on Library Drive on Thursday. George Morin / The Advocate
  • Students evacuate the Applied Arts Building due to a gas leak caused by construction workers working on a pipeline on Library Drive on Thursday. George Morin / The Advocate

 

A gas line on campus was clipped and ruptured by construction workers digging near the Library and Resource Center at 10:30 a.m. today.
Pacific Gas & Electric shut off the gas that was being pumped into the broken plastic line while college employees directed students off campus, a process that took about two hours total. Police and aides shut down the campus and did not allow students in for the duration of those two hours.
Roadblocks on either end of Campus Drive and Library Drive were taken down at 12:15 p.m. to allow students back onto the campus, once PG&E determined the area was safe, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.
Evacuations of students in buildings located on the west side of campus began within 10 minutes of the rupture, roughly at the same time PG&E arrived on the scene, King said.
"The line was snipped by construction workers but PG&E clamped it shut. It is not a permanent fix, but there is no longer any gas escaping," he said.
Library Drive will be closed until a permanent fix is completed, he said.
Students were evacuated from the LRC, Applied Arts, Biology, Physical Science, Health Science, and Liberal Arts buildings.
College President Denise Noldon said, "We are evacuating campus," as she moved through crowds of confused students being directed to the front of the Student Services Center.
Summer Davis was one of the students being led up Campus Drive during the evacuation.
"No one knows what is going on," Davis said. "It's very disorganized."
Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Berner was one of the many faculty members that were directing students along the road to the meeting point.
"Make your way to the Student Services (Center)," he said over a megaphone.
Berner said he was alerted to the leak as he stepped out of the building that runs parallel to the LRC, he was hit by the strong smell of gas.
Art major Jazmer Harrison was outside with his painting class when the evacuation began.
"I had no idea," he said, explaining that he found out when he saw hordes of people coming his way and asked what was going on. "We've been painting out here all week."
The only areas on campus not evacuated were the Gymnasium, Gym Annex, Computer Technology Center and the Early Learning Center because they were far from the site of the leak.
Hundreds of students were led to the meeting point. Many chose to leave campus.
Those that remained were contained in front of the meeting location, about 100 feet away from the origin of the gas leak. 


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