Gas leak causes Rec center evacuation

A natural gas leak from a malfunctioning clothes dryer caused the evacuation Thursday night of the University Recreation Center during peak evening usage hours.
Around 6 p.m., someone in the women’s locker room smelled gas and reported it to Becca Hoffert, a University senior who was the supervisor on duty at the time, said Roxie Adrian, a chemical engineering sophomore and staff member. Hoffert notified University Police, who called in to Minnegasco.
As a precaution, the building was evacuated at 6:15 p.m., said Kevin Engel, a medical graduate student who was in a cycling class at the time. The building was reopened by 8:10 p.m.
Although it is not clear how many people were using the recreational facility, the lower fitness room did have 61 occupants between 5 and 6 p.m., according to the center’s log books.
“Peak hours would be between 5 and 6,” said Jeremiah Broz, a College of Liberal Arts freshman and staff member.
The center staffed between 10 to 12 people at the time, which was also during a shift changeover, Adrian said.
“Since it was cold, we told everyone if they wanted, they could go to Cooke Hall,” said Jatin Setia, a marketing senior and supervisor. His shift started at 8 p.m.
Minnegasco workers repaired the faulty dryer located in the equipment room on the center’s bottom floor. Two industrial-sized dryers and a washer are used to wash the towels used by center patrons.
There were no injuries during the incident.

V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]