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BREAKING: Confirmed petroleum leak, firefighters evacuate UMN buildings

The University sent out systemwide SAFE-U notifications regarding building evacuations following the Minneapolis Fire Department confirming a petroleum leak near University sports complexes.


UPDATE (4:53 p.m.): MFD gave the University the all clear to reopen University buildings that were evacuated, according to a SAFE-U notification.

University Avenue and 4th street will remain closed to traffic between 10th Avenue and Oak Street until public works authorities finish monitoring the area.

The University has resumed limited campus bus service. The following bus stops are now open: stadium, Northrop Mall, Blegan Hall and Coffman Union.

UPDATE (3:22 p.m.): No injuries have been reported and the petroleum’s source and location are still unknown. Public officials are asking the public to avoid the campus area, according to a press release from Minneapolis Assistant Chief of Administration Melanie Rucker.

According to the press release, MFD was initially called to Oak and Fifth streets southeast around 11:30 a.m. after Met Council contractors working in the sewer system reported hazardous material. The contractors reported gas readings and a “strong petroleum gas smell in the sewer system.”

MFD’s hazmat team was called to the scene and the State Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Teams are taking samples of the liquid.

Emergency crews are continuing to monitor a large area for petroleum – East Hennepin Avenue from Hoover to Stinson to 33rd Avenue Northeast, 18th Avenue to Elm Street, and 4th street and University Avenue from 14th Avenue to Oak Street – and evacuating areas as needed, according to the press release.

Public officials advised if you’re in an evacuation area, to run water in every sink and floor drain, according to the press release.

According to a SAFE-U alert, evacuated University employees can leave campus due to “continued high gas levels in evacuated areas.” The areas will remain evacuated until MFD provides the all clear.

UPDATE (1:22 p.m.): MFD is considering the levels of petroleum around the University area to be hazardous, according to a SAFE-U alert. The University stated people should stay out of the area.

UPDATE (1:19 p.m.): Some University campus bus routes have been suspended, according to a tweet from the University. The Campus Connector, University Avenue Circulator and East Bank Circulators are not running until further notice.

UPDATE (1:05 p.m.): MFD has also blocked traffic at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and University Avenue SE and at streets up to Washington Avenue.

Several surrounding buildings have been evacuated including the Buffalo Wild Wings at Oak Street and University Avenue as well as the office building at the corner of 23rd and University, which includes the University of Minnesota Emergency Medical Services and the Minnesota Daily office.

The Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) confirmed a petroleum leak near Williams Arena on Tuesday. 

The arena is being evacuated, along with Huntington Bank Stadium, McNamara, the Aquatics Center, the Recreation Center, Mariucci and Maturi Sports Pavilion, according to a SAFE-U notification. 

People are advised to stay away from the areas evacuated and more details are expected to come shortly, the University tweeted.

MFD received a report of a gas smell coming from the sewer at 5th and Oak streets SE and blocked traffic at the intersection, according to Citizen live updates. According to first responders, there was a petroleum spill in the sewer. 

According to Citizen, traffic will also be blocked at 15th Avenue and 4th Street SE as well as at 17th Avenue and University Avenue SE. Firefighters are monitoring gas readings in surrounding areas. 

Firefighters advised people to stay clear of maintenance hole covers near the arena because of high gas levels. 

This is the second potential gas leak that has occurred on University Avenue this summer. Residences along University Avenue were evacuated on June 30 after a fire, explosion and possible gas leak at the intersection of University Avenue and 17th Avenue SE

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