Steam explosion at Peabody Museum traced to pipe leak
A steam pipe valve leak Tuesday morning caused an eruption of steam and sulfuric smells.
Courtesy of Steven Tian
A loud bang, rotten egg smell and clouds of steam that erupted from the Peabody Museum early Tuesday morning have been traced by fire officials to a pipe leak.
Yale Police received a fire alarm report from the Kline Geology Laboratory, just behind the museum, at 210 Whitney Avenue around 2:15 a.m. Steam was emanating from the area of the museum that is currently under construction.
“When officers arrived they heard a loud sound and observed a large amount of steam exiting the building in the construction area,” Yale Police Department Chief Anthony Campbell told the News.
Peabody is currently under a four-year renovation program, according to renovation manager Justin Pezzolesi. Pezzolesi did not respond to the News at time of publication.
Yale Fire Marshall, New Haven Fire Department, Yale Facilities and Turner Construction responded to the scene by 2:30 a.m., shutting down traffic along Whitney Avenue as emergency personnel investigated.
Inside, responding officers found that a steam pipe valve in the museum basement had malfunctioned, causing a large amount of steam to vent outside.
The New Haven Fire Department immediately determined there was no threat to the public, Campbell said.
Meanwhile,Turner Construction personnel were able to shut down the steam pipe. The damage was minor, with officers and personnel finding only a small amount of water on the basement floor. Turner Construction was able to clean the water and, according to Campbell, remained in the building throughout the day to ensure no further issues arose.
Steven Tian, head of research for Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute, was inside the School of Management across the street when he heard a large bang, just before 2:30 a.m.
“It was a very sudden, loud explosion which was hard to miss,” Tian wrote to the News.
Even from within the SOM building, Tian said he smelled an “overpowering” scent of sulfur after the explosion sounded.