Gas leak causes Science Hill evacuations

UPDATE: 3:39 p.m. A gas leak near the School of Management forced surrounding buildings to be evacuated Monday morning.

At 11:45 a.m. Monday, the Yale Emergency Management system sent out text messages, e-mails, and voice messages to the Yale community warning of a high pressure gas line break at Sachem and Prospect Street. The message said that all buildings between Sachem and Edwards Street were evacuated and that all members of the community should avoid the area until further notice.
 


Vinny Dinuzzo was working at his food stand at around 10:45 am when he saw a construction worker running down the street in panic yelling something about gas. He was told to immediately turn off all appliances in his lunch wagon.

“I shut my flame off and they evacuated us to across the street,” Dinuzzo said.

The gas leak was detected at an outdoor construction site on Prospect Street earlier this morning, Director of Strategic Communications Charles “Robin” Hogen ’70 said in an e-mail. As a precaution, several Yale buildings on Science Hill were evacuated, including Ingalls Rink, Kroon Hall, Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, Kline Biology Tower and Kline Chemistry Laboratory, he added.

In response to the break, both the red and blue lines of the Yale shuttle were rerouted away from the area, said Ed Bebyn, the manager of parking and transit, in an e-mail.

Assistant Chief Ralph Black Jr. of the New Haven Fire Department said a construction company had broken a six inch natural gas main line. The break occurred beneath the street in front of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

“The area was evacuated to ensure that there were no pockets of gas that would ignite,” Black said.

According to the Emergency Management website, the gas leak was shut off at 12:15. A subsequent message at 12:40 said it was safe to reenter the evacuated buildings.
 


Prospect Street between Edwards and Sachem Street, however, remained closed for some time afterwards so all emergency vehicles could be cleared, Hogen said.

Black said that though the leak had stopped because the pipe had been shut off from both ends, the pipe itself still needed to be fixed.

“We’re trying to reoccupy the buildings while the gas company takes care of the broken pipe,” he said.

Joshua Barbosa, who runs a Mediterranean food stand in the parking lot east of Ingalls Rink, said he heard the break occur.

“All the gas started to come up [out of the street],” he said.

Dinuzzo said that several of the lunch stand workers who had been in the Ingalls parking lot prior to the leak packed up and left after they were allowed to return to their work.

“I’m pretty sure they made it a bigger deal that it was,” Dinuzzo said of authorities’ response to the leak.

Of the leak’s effect on his business, he added: “It was a wasteful day.”

Representatives of Southern Connecticut Gas were present at the site, as were employees from C J Fucci Construction Inc., and New Haven police officers.

Comments

  • prion

    > “The area was evacuated to ensure that there were no pockets of gas that
    > would ignite,” Black said.

    If a gas pocket explodes on the campus and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?