Buildings evacuated due to odor

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November 17, 2006

1:37 PM

Students evacuated Rogers, Landrum and Chandler Halls this morning sometime between 9:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. due to what was thought to be a natural gas leak at Rogers Hall. Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler sent an e-mail to students at 12:13 p.m. saying that the fire department and natural gas personnel determined the odor was not caused by natural gas.

p. “Chandler Hall and Landrum Hall have been reopened. Rogers Hall will remain closed until air samples and other tests can be taken to determine what the source of the odor might be and whether it poses any further risk,” Sadler said.

p. According to Campus Police Patrol Officer Chester Fowler, Landrum and Chandler Halls were evacuated because students there could also smell the odor, due to heavy winds.

p. Chemistry Department Chair Gary Rice was teaching a class inside Rogers Hall when students noticed the odor. He said he opened a door to try to increase air circulation, but the air outside smelled worse than the air inside.

p. “I was getting ready to actually stop lecture because it seemed to be bothering too many people and then the fire alarm was pulled and basically we evacuated the entire building,” he said. “I’m glad it was today instead of yesterday when it was pouring down rain.”

p. He said that health risks are minimal and that Rogers Hall is not believed to be the source of the problem. He also said the smell was much improved from earlier in the day.

p. The area around Rogers Hall is roped off as Campus Police wait for the local and state Hazardous Materials Response Teams to arrive and evaluate the situation. A plumber on the scene said he turned off the gas inside Rogers Hall but that the source of the odor is still unclear.

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