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Gas leak forces evacuation in Colonial Courts

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By Amy McKeever

Mather/Nowell was evacuated the evening of Feb. 15 in below-zero temperatures due to a gas leak.

Campus Police was notified of an outdoor pipe break at 7:36 p.m. and Officer Timothy O’Sullivan and Officer Michael Tepper of Stonehill Campus Police responded to the call.

“Officer Tepper and I arrived and detected the odor and immediately had the students evacuated,” Officer O’Sullivan said.

Stonehill’s Chief of Police Peter Carnes rated the danger of the gas leak at a 2 out of 10.

“We were told around 9 that we couldn’t stay the night that we had to stay with a friend or they would find alternative housing for us throughout the courts,” junior Liz Abramo said.

The Easton Fire Department also responded and the Columbia Gas Company was notified to have the gas shut off.

The pipe was struck with a piece of snow removal equipment, causing it to break, and leaving the house uninhabitable, according to Officer O’Sullivan.

Representatives of Residence Life made arrangements for students to be relocated for the night.

“Many students preferred to stay with friends, but there were also spaces available for them,” Associate Director of Residence Housing Andy Anderson said.

Anderson said spaces were available in O’Hara basement if students were unable to stay with a friend.

“Gas is really dangerous inside an area with an ignition source. Where this one broke on the outside, the gas goes freely into the atmosphere,” Carnes said.

The gas meter was replaced and the building was cleared at noon on Monday, to allow students back inside.

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