Gas leak alarms campus
On Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at 12:02 p.m., students, faculty and staff received a notification from the GC Alert System announcing that a gas leak had been detected on the corner of West McIntosh and North Wilkinson Street. The notification advised everyone on campus to evacuate the area until given further instruction.
The gas line leak was caused by a tractor accidentally striking the gas line main as a construction crew was attempting to dig out a portion of the sidewalk.
“The backhoe operator immediately turned off the tractor and ran across the street into the Milledgeville Police Department to report the incident,” said Sgt. Michael Baker of GC Emergency Management.
A gas line leak can also be hazardous to the health of anyone in close proximity. Physical symptoms from the oder alone include headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathing problems.
The gas company was able to step in and control the leak by shutting off the gas until the gas line could be repaired.
“I was in statistics class in A&S, and everyone started receiving text messages,” said freshman Daria Brown, a majoring in criminal justice and Bell Hall resident. “Then somehow GC [overrode] my professor’s PowerPoint and displayed a message stating there was a gas leak and the locations we needed to avoid.”
At 12:17 p.m., GC Alerts sent out an update on the gas leak that the university was evacuating Herty Hall, Bell Hall and Porter Hall.
“The professor just told us we could go,” Brown said. “There was no formal evacuation from A&S. At that point, [there was] no information about whether or not we could reenter Bell, so I walked alone about 20 feet from A&S and opened the Bell Hall basement door, heard the fire alarm and then walked out and found my friend and walked to the library with the crowd.”
At 12:27 p.m., GC Alerts stated that the gas leak had been contained and that all classes could resume as scheduled.
Gas line leaks can be dangerous because the natural gas released is very combustible. The smallest spark can cause an explosion.
“Due to the close proximity of the gas main leak, everyone in the immediate area needed to be evacuated, to include vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” Baker said.
Photo by Steven Walters | Editor-in-Chief