Gas leak forces evacuation in St. Paul

The incident occurred at approximately noon outside the Como Student Community Cooperative – roughly two miles from both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.

CenterPoint Energy repair foreman John Howard repairs a gas line Tuesday outside the Como Student Community Cooperative.

CenterPoint Energy repair foreman John Howard repairs a gas line Tuesday outside the Como Student Community Cooperative.

Jenna Wilcox

Police evacuated a University of Minnesota student housing facility in St. Paul Tuesday afternoon after workers broke a gas line.

The incident occurred at approximately noon outside the Como Student Community Cooperative âÄî roughly two miles from both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. CenterPoint Energy shut off the gas shortly after.

According to housing properties coordinator Scott Creer, workers struck the gas line while moving a gate used to block a fire lane.

âÄúI donâÄôt know why this happened,âÄù Creer said. âÄúIt was a subcontractor who was doing the project and obviously didnâÄôt take appropriate precautions.âÄù

University police evacuated buildings nine and 10 for safety reasons, and didnâÄôt allow them to return to their homes until after 1 p.m.

âÄú[The situation] could be dangerous, but itâÄôs hard to say, because weâÄôre so used to it,âÄù said a CenterPoint Energy spokesperson.

Combined, buildings nine and 10 have 46 apartments, and most of those are two-person units. A CSCC staff member said most of the residents were in class during the incident.

CSCC is a University housing community serving student-families, married couples, domestic partners, single graduate students and post doctorates.