Gas leak near Smith Hall active but not considered a threat

A natural gas leak started near Smith Hall Friday and is expected to continue through the weekend, though officials on-scene said it is not an immediate safety threat because it is venting into open air. The leak is coming from a small ditch on Pleasant Avenue near the the Washington Avenue bridge and likely was caused by construction in the area as the Science Teaching and Student Services building goes up, according to multiple officials. Sgt. Ryan Rivers of the University of Minnesota Police Department said there were two calls made by people who smelled the odor–one a little before 9 p.m. and one roughly a half hour later. Officials from the Minneapolis Fire Department and CenterPoint Energy inspected the area and determined it was not a threat if venting into the air. The gas could be more threatening if it gets into nearby Smith and Kolthoff halls, though initial sweeps of the buildings did not reveal dangerous amounts inside. Officials from the University Department of Emergency Management and Department of Environmental Health and Safety also surveyed the area. The leak will likely continue until at least Monday, though officials said they’d like to find a way to reduce the odor. There was no word if any Monday classes would be affected. Check for more.