Gas leak caused by U Facilities Management

After initially accusing the demolition team of fault in the gas leak that disrupted traffic on Washington Avenue earlier this month, University officials admitted Thursday that they failed to check that gas lines were turned off.
An internal review found Facilities Management negligent in complying with its responsibility to ensure that utility lines were disconnected.
“There was some miscommunication between the University and Minnegasco,” said Eric Kruse, vice president of University Services, which oversees Facilities Management.
A backhoe cracked a natural gas line located in the Millard Hall demolition site Sept. 9. No one was injured in the gas leak, but three adjacent buildings were evacuated and traffic on Washington Avenue was disrupted for more than an hour.
The internal review determined the on-site crew, Carl Bolander & Sons Co., was not to blame for the incident.
Bruce Bolander, president of the company, said last week that the company was grateful for the University’s acknowledgment.
As a result of the internal investigation, the University plans to review its policies on internal communication, Kruse said.
“I think it is an accident that shouldn’t happen again,” he said.

Bryan Keogh welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3232.